Moorland Pony Rescue – South West Equine Protection

Moorland Pony Rescue – South West Equine Protection

SWEP (also known as The Pony Sanctuary) was formed in 1996 by volunteers, and started employing staff in 2009. We are the only charity that rescues ponies from the Moor when they find themselves in desperate plight. Once rescued they are bought into our rehabilitation yard and worked on until they are happy to be handled by people including professionals such as the vet, farrier and dentist. The charity then tries to match them with a home. The ponies go out on a loan basis. We hope to find them forever homes but we understand that people’s circumstances can change so a loan gives peace of mind that they can always come back into our care.

Overall we have rescued 413 ponies across Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor.In February 2011 we received reports of emaciated, dying and dead ponies on Bodmin’s East Moor. Amongst the ponies were Megan and her foal, who we later named Heston.


Megan with her foal, Heston, before lifesaving rehabilitation

After a long legal process Megan and Heston were brought into our rehabilitation yard so that we could begin the process of helping them gain weight and to slowly bring them around to trust humans. She was covered in kick and bite wounds and was extremely angry, she would bite anyone that came near her. Heston had an umbilical cord hernia which the vet managed to treat successfully.

Megan then began to gain weight and condition rapidly and slowly come around to human contact. Heston was weaned and halter broken successfully and has found a fantastic new home. Megan also had her happy ending living with a field mate and loving new owners.

Ten years ago the charity was approached by a man who owned a company that offered direct mail fundraising for charities, at first all went very well and the funds were a great help which enabled SWEP to employ much needed staff, however in 2013 it became very apparent that there was something wrong, we were always chasing the monthly payment that was sometimes paid late or in two halves, and we were not being paid what we were promised.

We consulted with a solicitor who advised us to give the required notice which we did in July 2014. After this, all payments stopped from his company except for odd trickle of a few pounds which was nowhere near the amount that was owed to us. At this point we started legal proceedings to recover all the outstanding money owed to SWEP. Unfortunately however his company has now gone into liquidation so the chance of getting the money owed to our charity and the ponies is remote.

Crucially SWEP had started to build a New Yard, desperately needed for the ponies. Now the funds have dried up we have had to use our building fund to survive and this is running out very fast. It costs SWEP £15,000 per month to continue the crucial work that we all do.

Aura came in with two other ponies we had been asked to take in from Eastmoor in Cornwall. She was deemed to be emaciated and would be shot. We believe she had been abandoned as she is not your average Bodmin Moor pony.


Aura was traumatised when she was first brought in

It is believed that Aura witnessed her entire herd being shot and she somehow escaped the same fate. She was completely traumatised when we turned up to load her onto our lorry.

When Aura arrived at our yard she was terrified and could not be handled. She then started to lose her coat and within a matter of weeks was completely bald.

With love and care from our yard team Aura’s coat has now grown back and she can now be handled and loves a fuss. She only has a short while left at our rehabilitation yard before she will be ready to find her forever home.

SWEP are coming up to a very busy time of the year for the ponies. We are desperate for donations to continue the work we do. If you are able to help you can donate via internet or by telephone – 01822 854823

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