SHERBERT the Shetland pony is looking for a new forever home as she is now fully recovered and thriving following her recovery from a animal welfare case.

Sherbert was one of 13 equines that were rescued by The Mare and Foal Sanctuary based in Newton Abbot in a large scale operation to recover a number of animals from a centre in Par back in 2022.

The equines were rescued from the ‘Family Nest Therapy CIC’ which ran pony parties, riding lessons and offered therapy for veterans.

They were found in very poor state with severe malnourishment, conjunctivitis, lice, worm burden, overgrown hooves, heart conditions, alopecia, anaemia and chronic inflammation.

Sherbet the Shetland
Sherbert was found in very poor state ( )

As seen in the pictures, their bones could be showed through their skin, and some were covered in paint brush marks from children’s parties. Some ponies were showing signs of severe depression. 

Sarah Baker, Darren Laker and James Baker were sentenced at Truro Crown Court on February 29 2024 in a case brought by the RSPCA, regarding animal welfare offences relating to animals they kept and cared for.

Judge Simon Carr said it was one of the worst cases of animal neglect he had ever seen. 

RSPCA Inspector Miranda Albinson said after sentencing: “It’s vitally important that people make sure their animals are cared for properly. I’d like to say a big thank-you to the officers and staff from The Horse Trust, Donkey Sanctuary and Mare and Foal Sanctuary for their assistance in this case." 

Since their rescue, The Mare and Foal Sanctuary spent more than a year nursing the 12 surviving ponies and horses back to health.

Each equine was tailored an individual recovery plan which was made specifically for their needs. This included veterinary visits, medication and food supplements. 

They also required extensive behavioural training. 

Sherbert the Shetland
After more than a year of treatment, Sherbert, Poppy and Lola (who were rescued with her) now have sanctuary for life with The Mare and Foal Sanctuary ( )

Having fully regained her health, Sherbert is now thriving and on the search for the new loving home – she is being offered as a companion pony so is on the look for a new best friend.

Sanctuary staff at the centre now feel that Sherbert would benefit from one-to-one care with an experienced pony handler as part of the charity’s ‘Sanctuary at Home’ loan scheme. 

Sherbert is a three year old, Skewbald mare who stands at 8.3HH. It is said that she is a sweet natured, affectionate pony who loves to get involved with her handlers activities.

Syra Bowden, head of welfare outreach and advice said: “Although we will miss seeing her each day, everyone at the Sanctuary would love to see Sherbert happily settled in a special new home after her terrible ordeal.

“Our team has been so impressed with Sherbert’s progress. It took a great deal of loving care, support and rehabilitation, but her character and spirit has finally emerged, and she has captured the hearts of everyone who has worked with her.  

“At the age of three she’s a sweet natured, affectionate young pony in good health and we would love for her to find a new home where she can continue to learn and develop in a safe and loving environment. She would make a wonderful companion pony and is sociable in her herd, so she will need other equine company.

“We think Sherbert will do well with someone who has worked with small ponies before and can give her lots of attention and enrichment exercises.”

The ‘Sanctuary at Home’ carers are a group of very special people who provide foals, ponies and horses a home for as many years as they choose on a loan basis.

A spokesperson from the Mare and Foal Sanctuary added: “Rehoming is a rewarding experience and enables space to be created at the charity’s peaceful sanctuaries for more equines in need. All carers have access to expert advice and support from a dedicated team and in some cases the charity can help with some of the medical costs for eligible horses or ponies through its ‘Prime Pastures’ scheme.

“Carers have the peace of mind that if their circumstances change, the charity provides sanctuary for life for its animals.”

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary is keen to hear from anyone with experience of equine care who is interested in finding out more about Sherbert or any of its horses or ponies available for rehoming.

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary is a charity which relies entirely on donations and legacy gifts to care for its residents.

Visit the charity’s website at or call 01626 882660.