Just over a year after a group of emaciated, sick and nervous ponies were rescued from flooded land in Wellingborough, North Northamptonshire, Blue Cross is delighted to report that they are now healthy and almost all are now in happy, caring homes. A total of 11 ponies were admitted to the charity’s animal rehoming centre in Rolleston following the rescue, where several horses were sadly found to have died.

The 11 ponies were taken in by the charity following a large scale operation by RSPCA and partners in February 2020. The rescue saw 43 abandoned ponies in total rescued from the flooded fields, most were very thin, covered in fleas and lice and had little, if any, experience of being handled.

It is understood that they had been dumped in the area for unauthorised grazing and the landowner was able to seize the horses with the help of the RSPCA under the Control of Horses Act. The owners could not be identified as the ponies were not microchipped.

Whilst at Blue Cross, the ponies all needed intensive work to help them get used to humans and being handled and the team at Rolleston spent every day encouraging the ponies accept human touch. The ponies were slowly introduced to allowing handlers to put a headcollar on them, be groomed and have their feet handled. For some they learnt quickly, but for others it took several weeks and even months. One particularly nervous pony, Dove, is still undergoing training for her to have her feet picked up for the farrier and vet checks. She has been at the centre for over a year and remains so frightened she can only lift one of her feet and her groom is working hard to gain her trust with this in preparation for a home. The team suspect she had previously been handled badly or even abused.

Verity Anderton-Johnson, Rehoming Co-ordinator at Blue Cross said: “All of the ponies were in such a sorry state when they came into our care. We are used to helping abandoned, nervous ponies but to have so many all at once it was another level. It makes us so happy to see them come out of their shell and be able to go to their first real loving homes.”

The other ponies are happily now in new homes –

  • Blythe in a home as a companion pony
  • Nene had gone to be backed in a home as a riding pony
  • Ribble and Nidd got rehomed together to be companions to a riding horse in Wales
  • Arun has been rehomed and when she is four years old will start training to become a driving or riding pony
  • Hipper has been rehomed as a non-ridden companion to a lovely home
  • Bunny (Hipper’s foal) was weaned and has found a new home as a youngster together with Bumbleebee, another foal born during lockdown also since weaned. When they are old enough they will be trained to be riding or driving ponies
  • Tweed (Bumblebee’s mum) arrived with bad liver damage and is currently under veterinary treatment for ulcers at Blue Cross in Burford, Oxfordshire.
  • Eden, Soar, River and Victory were all rehomed together. River and Victory will be trained when they reach four years old to become driving ponies and their mums Eden and Soar will be long-term companion ponies.
  • Cole has also found a new home where he will continue to learn to trust people and be trained.
  • Dove’s foal, Rainbow, has been weaned and will go to a home where she will continue to learn and potentially become a riding or driving pony.

To find out more about Blue Cross horses, ponies and cats at the Rolleston centre looking for a new home, or to make a contribution to their care, visit www.bluecross.org.uk