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H.O.P.E – blog

H.O.P.E was started back in October 2010 with myself as a 2 pony owner who feed over a 30 strong herd on the fringes of Dartmoor at my little yard of just 2 1/2 acres. That year 10 foals was born, 1 of which was a filly who came to me at 2 months old as she couldn't survive the winter, which left 9 colts. When I asked the farmer if I could naively find them homes he said I could. That year over 800 foals we slaughtered and it was all well documented on the news etc. too. That 9 turned into 43 and Jan/Feb. 2011 there were 55 and as It grow so did my confidence and knowledge on how to find good homes from them and then H.O.P.E Dartmoor hill pony rescue was born. That winter we had over a 100 foals yearlings and some  2 year olds. Now in 2013 we have rehomed over 250+. Each new home we vet and farrier check and a home check will then follow, each new keeper will hopefully keep them for life as we only look for forever loving homes for them and each go with a special loan contract.  The new keeper will keep us updated on our update page on face book with photos and a written update. We haven't got a rescue centre but foster homes. Any very young, sick, lame or ill foals came to my private yard to be fostered and returned to full health for rehoming. The ponies on Dartmoor their numbers are reduced each year and in 2010 there were around 1200 mares but now there must be less than 800. The moor can not survive without the ponies and the ponies cant survive without the moor. Following the tourist season the ponies are rounded up taken with their foals, the mares are returned to the moor and the foals taken to the markets were around 99% are slaughtered. We work with the a tiny amount of the farmers they have gelded all their stallions and we find homes for the foals, its a very slow process and its taken 3 years for the farmers to do this but its only a tiny amount of farmers doing this and there are other stallions on the moor so the cycle continues. When the foals are due to be brought in the farmer will let me know and we will take their photos and get them out on face book and any where else so people can see their faces, the photos are then used for the micro chipping process with the vet. So the photo follows all the paperwork and the foal which makes the process simple. Once we have a home for a foal and all the checks have come back good and the foal has been micro chipped and passports received, the foal/s can go to their new home. The new keeper or a chosen transporter will pick up their foal/s along with the passport/ and taken to their new home. We keep our rehoming fee as little as we can, the rehoming fee goes to the vet for micro chipping them, for their passports and the rest goes to the farmer as an incentive to work with us.  At the market he can get minimum of £10.50 for the foal from a private buyer or the meat man and 99% go on the back of the meat wagon. I am with the foals every step of the way down to loading them for their new home or foster home. Something I get great pleasure from, just knowing they will not be slaughtered. Life can be uncertain but one thing I am confident about is their temperaments and great natures. They come in off the moor feral and with love TLC, patience and time they make the best children's  or small adults ponies. The hill pony average height is 11'2-12'2hh but we have a lot that go over that height and also we do get cob x Dartmoor too. They are intelligent, surefooted, clever, quick to learn and love to please, love their work and love people and throughout the entire process of rounding them up, micro chipping them, loaded them and handling them they still want to be with us. The can do everything a horse can do and they are great pc ponies, ride and drive ponies, show ponies, and agility ponies great fun for all the family. I get looked at very strangely when I say they seem to be grateful ponies, but there are. My oldest rescue Dartmoor hill pony is Titchus maximus small in body huge in personality, he is my circus clown and I have never regretted any of mine and now I have 8 of my own. Our face book page is Dartmoor rescue of 25+ ponies and website is www.hope-dartmoor.co.uk. Our email address is h.o.p.edartmoorhillponyrescue@hotmail.co.uk hope




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