Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Every year I've promised myself I would sponsor a foal and this year, finally, I have.

In November 2012, the new foals began arriving at the Centre and I went to see them. The choice was easy. I knew which one I wanted the moment I saw him.

I've called him Freddy.

Freddy was born on Withypool Common right in the centre of Exmoor and is a gorgeous reddish brown colour, typical of that particular herd.

 He spent the first few months of his life roaming free until the herd was rounded up in the Autumn gathering and brought down off the Moor to the home farm.

The first experience most of these wild foals have of human beings is when, at only a few months old, they are separated from their mothers and branded with a hot iron. So when they arrive at the Centre these, sometimes traumatised, ponies need plenty of gentle handling.

For some reason Freddy has not been branded so has escaped that particular experience.

We give them a day or two to get used to their new surroundings, then we begin to work with them using intelligent horsemanship techniques (aka 'horse whispering'). This was the part I was looking forward to as, although Linzi would do most of the work with him, I would have a chance to learn how to handle him myself.

Within a couple of weeks, Freddy was accepting a head collar and lead rope and allowing us to pick up his feet.

And we are gradually building up a loving (at least on my part!) and trusting relationship.


  1. Awwww poor Freddy! Why are the babies separated from the mums so early on? Why can't they be separated at a later age? And branded? :-( And what happens to the mums after? Or the foals who don't end up in your rescue? Sorry, I'm a little - oh ok, plenty! - clueless as to the traditions these pertain to!

    Anyway! Glad that Freddy is looking well and hopefully is feeling the love enough to thrive and forget such bad memories! Take care

    1. Hi Kitty. I think the best way to answer your questions is to put them into a new post. Freddy now seems very happy and relaxed - so much so that he almost falls asleep while he is being stroked and cuddled.

  2. Oh isn't he beautiful! What a wonderful experience and lovely that you are using the intelligent horsemanship techniques - he certainly looks to be very comfortable with you x

    1. He is lovely, isn't he, Teresa. He's really learning to trust us now thanks to the gentle handling.