Nearly everyone has heard on the New Forest Ponies, but few have heard that each year they are rounded up & auctioned off for a few pounds each. The vast majority are sold to "the meat man" who take them off to places like France & Belgium where they are slaughtered for the table.
Many are in extremely poor condition and it breaks my heart to think of the terror the majority experience on their last journey to be slaughtered.
I was asked if I would offer a home to a particularly poorly mare who had recently been rounded up with a foal a foot. A number of ponies had been saved from slaughter by a rescue organisation who were confident in homing the foals (cute or what?) but this mare had very little chance as she resembled a walking skeleton.
It has taken almost two years to put any weight onto the mare (now called Babooshka), and following her first worming, I have never seen so many worms come out of anywhere let alone a horse. It was disgusting. Her guts must be permanently damaged, however with a controlled diet I am just about now seeing some results
Clearly I said I would take her, however because they were unable to separate the foal they brought both mother & baby in the lorry. The idea was to separate them at the sanctuary. Baby on the other hand had her own plans & when the Mare was led off the lorry, she decided to join her mum by negotiating (breaking) the barrier between them. I was never happy at the prospect of having to see them parted, & now there was no need!
This years grass (together with plenty of Bailey's No 4 cubes), has really helped Babushka gain weight
Note greedy guts foaly (Anastasia in the foreground)
I regret not having a picture of how she looked when she arrived - she really was like a toast rack.