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Rescuing ponies?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Today I was taken to visit a guy who has a small herd of Shetland ponies that belonged to his wife, who has left him (how could she abandon them?). He wants to get rid of them fast as he has sold the house, and doesn't seem to care what happens to them. He has given some away but there is a 7 year old stallion, a two-year old colt, and a mare in foal with a foal at foot. I am debating putting them on my fields. But am I mad? They have never been ridden, but are quite tame, they came to me in the field and nuzzled, and will take a halter and head collar easily. They are not shod and when I asked the owner when they were last wormed he looked rather uneasy and said a year ago! They are in good condition though, from an external look. They have to go within a month and I am worried that they may be put down if no one takes them. But I have never looked after Shetlands and my experience with them has been limited to helping out with children's classes at my local riding school, when most of the Shetlands were vicious little brutes. The only times I have ever been kicked or bitten seriously was by Shetlands. So should I take them? Does anyone have any advice? I have field shelters and enough grazing, but I also want to get two riding ponies next spring so maybe I should wait and ignore their fate. But can I do that? What should I do? I have said I will call the guy in a day or two and let him know.
post #2 of 22
It sounds as if you made a few friends today, Jenny I don't have experience in this area, so am not sure what to say here except I would wonder if it would depend on your having the space and resources for your new additions?
I sure do admire your feeling compelled to rescue these beautiful Shetlands!
Some of us bring home kittens, Jenny brings home ponies!
post #3 of 22
Maybe you could pm Hissy and ask her opinion. I have no experience with any type of horses other than using my neighbors horse manure in my veg garden!!
post #4 of 22
I don't know the right answer either, but if I honestly thought that they would be put down or given to just anyone, I'd probably take them, and if it doesn't work out, then re-home them....but to someone that you can be sure will take good care of them, and at least in the meantime, they are cared for properly (sort of like fostering them). Good luch in your decision!
post #5 of 22
Hello Jen,
Rescue them and rehome them if necessary.
Shetlands are are smart little horses and the reason they often bite and kick is that they often get raised by children and not by grown ups.
There is a few things to think about with shetlands. Don't put them on to green grass. They easily eat them selves ill.
Where do you live?
I will try to find some sites for you. There might be a horse-rescue program in your area.
You might need help with the stallion - they can be pretty dominant especially with their own herd. He will probably need a kastration if hehasn't got very good papers but when already seven years - he will always be a stallion in his heart.
The mare will need extra food, especially since she still has her foal by her side. When is it time for the baby to come?
For the rest they will teach you how to "talk" with them if you just watch them communicate with eachother.
You can PM me as much as you want if you chose to take them and have more questions.
A good basic tip when you are around horses is to do everything in the same tempo as if you where having a coffe brake and had all the time in the world.
If you are calm and confident they will be calm and respectfull.
I could talk about horses for hours so I will stop here for now.
post #6 of 22
If it was me in your position I would take them straight away, but Shetlands can be really naughty! My friend used to have a shettie, and he was a real pain in the neck!
You could always take them and sell them, then you could get 2 riding ponies (lucky you) and have more money to spend on their needs (and of course you and your kitties!)


Good Luck with whatever you choose!
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks - I am in Calvados, in Normandy, France and although there are lots of stud farms all round here, I don't know yet of any rescue organisations.

I have ridden all my life and done lots of trekking and stable management (I am actually an assistant moniteur des randonnees equestres in France) but I have never actually owned a horse of my own, because of where I have lived. It is one reason why I moved here, so I could own ponies. But like my cats, these poor Shetlands have fallen into my lap. They were apparently bought for breeding (they are beautiful Classic Shetlands, all dun colour with blonde manes and tails) but I do not think they have papers - a classic case of BYB where things go wrong and the animals suffer for it. I have worked with Shetlands helping out at riding schools and as I said, most of my experiences with them have not been positive! But as you say, it all depends on how they are brought up. I agree that castrating the stallion now would probably not change his behaviour, as with an adult male cat, but merely ensure I had no more foals next year. I just can't decide how it would affect my long term plans to get my own riding ponies next year, and what might happen to them if I don't do something. Very difficult.
post #8 of 22
Try calling the riding schools and see if they would be interested in the ponies. Maybe if you took them now, you could send them to the school once the foals grow up. And they can take care of gelding the stud.

We have a horse rescue near me, but Illinois is a little far from France to help!

I agree with Malena to be careful they don't eat themselves sick. Otherwise, they should be fairly easy to care for. We have one old pony, not a shetland, but she is a real easy keeper, so long as we don't overfeed her!
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyranson View Post
Today I was taken to visit a guy who has a small herd of Shetland ponies that belonged to his wife, who has left him (how could she abandon them?). He wants to get rid of them fast as he has sold the house, and doesn't seem to care what happens to them. He has given some away but there is a 7 year old stallion, a two-year old colt, and a mare in foal with a foal at foot. I am debating putting them on my fields. But am I mad? They have never been ridden, but are quite tame, they came to me in the field and nuzzled, and will take a halter and head collar easily. They are not shod and when I asked the owner when they were last wormed he looked rather uneasy and said a year ago! They are in good condition though, from an external look. They have to go within a month and I am worried that they may be put down if no one takes them. But I have never looked after Shetlands and my experience with them has been limited to helping out with children's classes at my local riding school, when most of the Shetlands were vicious little brutes. The only times I have ever been kicked or bitten seriously was by Shetlands. So should I take them? Does anyone have any advice? I have field shelters and enough grazing, but I also want to get two riding ponies next spring so maybe I should wait and ignore their fate. But can I do that? What should I do? I have said I will call the guy in a day or two and let him know.
There is NOTHING wrong with Shetland Ponies EXCEPT they are so small that usually only Children tend to them and children are too young to discipline them. I knew one and she was lovely BUT it took a small adult or an older small child to get on her now and then and let her know her shenanigans would not be tolorate!

DO rescue them! Poor babies! If ONLY i had land again!
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have been thinking about it all evening ( I was on a date LOL!) and I have decided that the thing I must do first is get a vet inspection (paid for by me). These ponies have been left on their own in a field for over a year, no vet and no feed supplements, no farrier and no-one who knows anything about horses. So I will get a vet to look at them, especially their feet and teeth, and give me an opinion. I will be there for the exam, so I can see how hard it is to handle them, pick up their feet etc. I just cannot take on a load of animals who may be really sick or impossible to handle. I am trying to be both compassionate and logical, and it is hard.

By the way, the date went OK, though I don't really want it to go further!
post #11 of 22
Hello Jenny,
You seem to be the perfect person to care for this ponys. Since you are experienced with horses but never owned one I just want to say - it is easier. You get to know them so much better when they are constantly around you.
If they appear not to have been handled a lot - don't let that scare you.
I would rather buy a horse with no to little experience of humans than one with bad experiences of humans or even worse - spoiled by humans, and it is a lot easier than you think to get on good terms with a horse that appears to be unexperienced with humans.
Shetlands are just small horses. Maybe a little bit smarter than horses in general. The advantage is that if there is a problem it will be a smaller problem than if the horse was big.
Here is a usefull link with hands on advices:
The mainpage: http://www.naturalhorsesupply.com/training.shtml
My favorite advice: http://www.naturalhorsesupply.com/groundmanners.shtml
Most usefull in the beginning: http://www.naturalhorsesupply.com/yielding.shtml
If they seem to not have been handled a lot these links will help you to stay safe and to get on good terms with them fast.
I have a hard time finding anything in French since I don't speak it but I actually don't live that far a way - Belgium in the area of Antwerp. If I had some land I would help you in a blink but we just bought a house in the middle of a village.
Good luck and thanks for caring for them.
post #12 of 22
Hello Jenny.

Any decision yet?
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
I am waiting to hear from the vet as to when he can go look at them. If he gives the OK then I will take Maisie, the mare, and her as yet un-named foal. She will then have another foal in the spring. I don't think I can handle the two stallions as well. I have to be logical about this.
post #14 of 22
That's good enough. It should be possible to find other homes for them. Good luck with the mare and the foals. Do you know when it is time for her?
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
The owner has simply left all of them in a field, so has no idea when she was covered. Her current foal was born in May, with no vet attention, so I would guess sometime in early spring. But maybe the vet will be able to tell me - I am no good at looking at a Shetland and saying how far along she might be. They are so round anyway!
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
So I am now the owner of 2 (soon to be three) Shetland ponies. The mare is called Maisie and I have to find a name for the foal. I have found out more - they have had no vet check or treatment for three years, which is when the owner's wife left him! Maisie had no ante or postnatal care for her foal nor for the one she is now expecting. They are in basic good health but their teeth are a mess and their feet (unshod) need trimming. And of course internally they are a mass of worms - the vet cannot say yet if there is any damage from that but I will have have full fecals done as soon as I have them here, and follow up if necessary with xrays.

All that now needs to be done is for me to check the fencing around at least one of my fields and then to arrange transport. I am probably mad but they can't be worse off with me.
post #17 of 22
Congrats on your new additions, and I'm sending lots of healthy vibes for the three of them. You really are an angel, Jenny!
post #18 of 22
Jenny you never cease to amaze me. There is definitely a place reserved for you in heaven.

I like the name Tango for the colt. Our daughter used to ride and we part-boarded a beautiful large Canadian Trekkaner (sp?). His name was Tango and he was like a huge big puppy dog. He'd get down on one knee and beg for an apple or carrots and if I stood close to his head he would lick my neck (of course with his big tongue that included the whole side of my face as well).

Bless you for taking in these beautiful animals.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
As soon as I have them here I will post pix of course. The current foal is a filly, and of course I don't know about the one to be born. But maybe pix will help people suggest names. I'm no angel - probably stark staring mad, and I haven't dared tell my mother yet! She will take it as further proof of my total recklessness. But the more I heard about their history, the more I felt I had to do something; I just hope I can cope with them. At least with me they will have daily love and attention, and regular vet care. There are horses in the field next door, so they will also have equine companionship.
post #20 of 22
Good of you to take on these ponies. I've had horse/ponies nearly my life and at the moment have a 5 yo Fell gelding.
If these ponies are living out, make sure the grass is not too rich otherwise they'll get laminitis, a crippling condition of the feet. Also they will need hay in the winter. I wish you luck with them.
post #21 of 22
if you do decide to take the stallions have them cut. if you want more info, ive raised ponies. i have 3 rescues now. email me on this website
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
I decided against the stallions as one is 7 years old, and even if he is altered now, he may not change his dominance behaviour. As I want to get two riding ponies in the spring I have to think of future relationships! The other is only two but I am hoping that someone else may take the two them together so they have company. Thanks for the warning on laminitis - I am only too aware of the problems it can cause. I am amazed they have no signs of it as they have been literally left to graze a large field, with no rotated grazing or feed supplements, for over three years.
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