Three of the horses run free in the field at Blue Cross Burford

Rescued from misery

Nine ponies found living feral without the care they needed are now enjoying the lives they deserve.

Popeye, Summer and Sebastian, four, Indigo and Wesley, three, and two-year-olds Little Beauty, Nigel, Ayla and Mango, were found with dozens of other mistreated ponies roaming across 500 acres.

They were brought to our Burford horse unit in Oxfordshire by the RSPCA in two rescue missions in summer last year, stepping off the trailer weak and bewildered.

Popeye is weighed by the team on arrival
Popeye is weighed by the team on arrival.

Another pony taken in by Blue Cross from the same site was lame due to suspected pelvic injuries and sadly had to be put to sleep to end his suffering.

The horses had been left to live feral and breed beyond the control of their owner, allowing for little to no care.

When the ponies were rescued, pregnant mares were found with several foals still suckling from them.

The ponies are led to their paddock

On arrival in our care, the ponies in the group taken in by Blue Cross were so terrified of being without their friends that the team had to quickly assess them before letting them run free in grassy paddocks in their groups.

Once they were more settled, we got them all the vet and farrier care they needed and placed them on the road to rehabilitation.

Mango, an emaciated bay cob, arrived in the worst condition. Wobbling as she walked, she weighed just 203kg and was given a body score of just one – the second from lowest possible.

The ponies are led off the van that brought them to Blue Cross
Mango (front) and Summer are led off the trailer that brought them to Blue Cross.

“It was so sad to see them in this condition, especially when they were so young,” said Louise Lock, Senior Groom.

Understandably, the ponies were afraid of people, so the grooms had to work hard to build their trust.

But all of them except Indigo, who was particularly scared, took to handling faster than expected due to their inquisitive nature. So much so, that only Summer and Ayla are now waiting to find loving homes.

Ayla's hooves are checked
Ayla is assessed by the team, which included checking the condition of her hooves.

Clare Bevins, Veterinary and Yard Supervisor, said: “Indigo took a long time to build a relationship with anyone and every time something changed, he went back a step.

“Him being confidently caught in the field earlier this year was a highlight for everyone as it marked the turning of a corner.

“The others were fairly plain-sailing but their main highlight, as always, has been finding a nice new home.”

— Page last updated 07/08/2020