The moorland enclosures are only big enough to support a certain number of ponies if they are to remain fit and healthy and co-exist with other grazing livestock as well as other users of the landscape. This means many of the foals cannot be returned and have to be found homes elsewhere or face the prospect of being culled. As a herd consists of many mares and usually only one stallion, it is mainly the colt foals that face this uncertain future.
The Moorland Mousie Trust buys in as many of these surplus foals as it can afford, bringing them in to their premises at the Exmoor Pony Centre while it is closed for the winter.Here, staff and volunteers work with the foals, gently and sensitively teaching them to accept a headcollar and lead rope, allow their feet to be lifted, to enjoy being groomed and generally preparing them to find new homes where they can lead useful, happy lives. The foals are inspected by a vet, wormed, and the colts neutered.
The Trust would like to encourage anyone interested in buying a foal from a moorland herd, or taking on a youngster from the charity, to get in touch. Taking on a moor-bred foal can be an extremely rewarding experience and the Trust is always available to support you and your four legged friend.
This is the Charity’s most difficult time of year financially. While the Centre is closed, visitor income drops away while winter feed and welfare costs for these foals soar to around £5,000. This winter a volunteer is raising money towards this by being sponsored to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. You can read more about this by following the Just Giving link on the right.
Finally, the Moorland Mousie Trust, the charity which runs the Exmoor Pony Centre, is looking to recruit new trustees from the Exmoor area. If anyone is interested in becoming a trustee, we would love to hear from you. Equine experience is not essential. We are looking for motivated people with an interest in local charity and business.