A pony rehabilitation centre in Bodmin is appealing for help as it struggles to raise the funds to care for it’s residents.
The Bodmin Moorland Pony Rehabilitation (BMPR) is a small charity from Bodmin that have been helping abandoned moorland hill ponies since April 2014. The centre was formed after Shelley Oldfield, BMPR founder, was abandoned with four ‘close to death’ semi feral ponies from Bodmin Moor.
Shelley explained: “Unaware of the welfare problems at the time on our local commons we could not look away after our eyes were opened to what was happening around us and have strived since to help the few ponies that we can find a second chance at life.
“We became a registered charity in 2016 and now help semi feral and fly grazed ponies from across the South West and beyond since vast improvements have been made in welfare on our local commons, working with other like-minded organisations and individuals.”
The centre works primarily as a rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing charity for ponies. Some of the residents are able to live their best lives in guardian homes and others who suffer from health or behavioural problems and not suitable for guardian homes spend their time living in the sanctuary long term.
“We strive to care for our ponies in as natural and enriching an environment as possible using non coercive trust building methods of training, caring for each pony as an individual.” Shelley continued.
Over the last nine and a half years, BMPR has helped 45 ponies.
Shelley added: “Whilst compared to some organisations this may not seem a huge amount, most of this has been done almost single-handedly. When we take in a pony we remain responsible for them for life, meaning that all that are subsequently re-homed always return to our care should their guardians circumstances ever change.”
Ponies, Ernie and Syd, have found their forever home with BMPR after coming into the centre’s care in 2017. The pair, known as Squid, arrived eight years ago with two small cobs as part of a large welfare case. It was said that all of the rescues in this group were significantly underweight and suffering from both internal and external parasites.
Shelley said: “All of the ponies had experienced very little interaction with humans and had pretty much given up on life. With the help of our vets and gentle and sensitive rehabilitation, all four boys regained health, condition and trust in humans and were re-homed to some wonderful guardians.
“With all ponies re-homed, they remain in our ownership so, should their guardians’ circumstances ever change they will always return to the safety of our sanctuary so as we can ensure they find a suitable alternative future home.
“Sadly at the start of spring of this year both boys retuned to our care coincidentally within weeks of each other.
Both Syd and Ernie are now looking for a new companion home, for information on the boys and our re-homing process please get in touch via our social media platforms or our website.”
BMPR is 100% volunteer led with two full time volunteers a handful of part time helpers. The sanctuary solely relies on donations, fundraising and sales to keep it running.
However, since the start of the pandemic the sanctuary has been struggling to raise the money needed.
“We are not a wealthy organisation and run very simply out of a basic facility with most of our heavy lifting and yard maintenance completed by hand with all that we raise going back in to the direct care of our ponies.” Shelley added.
“The pandemic severely impacted our ability to fundraise and regular donations plummeted, support has continued to dwindle due to the prolonged economic climate and cost of living crisis meaning that due to lack of both human and financial resources, we sadly cannot accept new admissions at present in order to continue to give our utmost care to our current 17 residents.”
The centre is now appealing for help to keep it afloat and running.
Shelley added: “We do not appeal for help very often, doing our utmost to earn our donations but hope that by raising further awareness of our cause we may find more supporters and like-minded volunteers to help us continue our valuable work as for a number of our residents we really were and still are, their last hope.”
The team from the centre has suggested a few ways to help out; making a regular donation which will help give more long term stability, a one off donation to help with the residents forage and care, donating forage and bedding, donating new or good quality pre-loved items such as yard equipment to use or gift items to raise funds with, or offering time to help out with yard maintenance, admin, fundraising and raising awareness.
To find out more visit Bodmin Moorland Pony Rehabilitation Facebook page or www.bodminmoorlandpony.org for ways to make a donation or help out.