Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Kate Has Her Operation

 You may remember that 19 year old old Kate has been confined to base all summer because of a leg injury and we launched a special campaign to raise funds for her to have an operation.

Amazingly, a generous donor has given the Trust the money to pay for Kate's op, for which we are extremely grateful.

So, on December 9th, Kate underwent surgery to repair the damaged tendon. Already, she is getting impatient about being shut up in a stable for enforced rest, so we hope she is well on the mend - thanks to her kind benefactor.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Online Shop Up and Running

Great news! At last we have our online shop up and running.

There's just time to beat our Christmas posting deadline (14th December) but if you miss that we have many more items to put on and there will be plenty of cards and gifts available all year round for birthdays and other occasions.

Log into the online shop here. And remember, there is lots more to come. We look forward to seeing you there.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Wildsoc Volunteers

On 22nd October, we had a visit from members of Exeter University's Students' Union.

They were all members of the conservation society, Wildsoc, one of many societies organised by the Union.

The 27 willing volunteers came to help us for the day.
Sweeping the Yard
Clearing leaves from behind the barn
A well-earned break in the Green Room
 A big thank you to all who took part and worked so hard!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Roundup on Winsford Hill

On October 17th, some of the Moorland Mousie staff were out on Winsford Hill helping to roundup the ponies in the annual gathering.


Left to Right - Linzi on Abby, Val, Martina on Yorrick and Briony on Dylon

Back to the Centre

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Autumn Fair

October 29th is our Autumn Fair celebrating the end of the season.

The theme is Halloween, so refreshments will include pumpkin soup, cheese scones, bread and cakes.

We will be holding the draw for our raffle and we have some great prizes including an Exmoor safari and picnic for four with Johnny Kingdom, a meal for two at Woods Bistro in Dulverton, a framed Mike Sherwin photograph and an autographed set of Victoria Eveleigh's pony books. If you haven't already bought a ticket, there's still time! Just contact the Centre.

The Fair starts at 11 o'clock at the Exmoor Pony Centre. If you don't know where we are, you can find directions on our web site.

PS - I must mention that the pumpkin lanterns in the photograph were made last year by  my young grandsons, Seb and Toby, aged 5 & 3.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Christmas Shopping

We have a temporary shop in the former Courtyard cafĂ© premises in Dulverton, just until Christmas so, if you’re planning to come to Dulverton, you can still come and see us without the trip up to Ashwick.

We are well stocked with Christmas Cards, a beautiful 2012 calendar and a wide variety of fine-art prints, all displaying Mike Sherwin's brilliant photography of the Exmoor landscape, including red deer and, of course, the ponies .

For book-lovers we have copies of the re-print of Moorland Mousie and Tortie Eveleigh’s “Katie” books.

There is something for everyone, including clothing and gifts ranging from a couple of pounds upwards, so please come and support us if you can.

The opening hours are 10 – 4 from Tuesday till Saturday inclusive. If you cannot get to Dulverton, we do have a regular stall in South Molton market on Thursdays where you can buy your Christmas cards and gifts.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Have a Go at Foal Handling

Foals are arriving early this year and, as you may have gathered from the last post, the theme for names is detectives.

Sherlock and Holmes are both doing well, wearing their head collars and allowing us to lead them round the school.

Do you fancy having a go at foal handling?

If, so, you can sign up for a foal handling tuition day by telephoning 01398 323093.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Pony Stew for Lunch?

Not so long ago, that could have been the fate of this little fellow and others like him.

This is the time of the annual roundup, or 'gathering', when the free-living Exmoor ponies are taken off the moor to be checked, and the young foals branded.

Healthy mares and filly foals are generally returned to the moor but a herd can only have one stallion.

So what happens to all the colt foals?

Once, they were likely to end up on a dinner plate or as dog food.

Now, many of them find a safe refuge with The Moorland Mousie Trust where they are gelded and gently handled until they can lead useful lives as riding ponies or as part of a conservation grazing scheme.

This year, as the economic situation tightens and homes are more difficult to find, we expect our resources to be strained to the limit with more foals than ever before coming to the centre.

So our grateful thanks as always to you, our loyal supporters. It is your generous contributions that enable us to continue our work and provide a safe and fulfilling future for these beautiful ponies.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Roundup Time at the Centre?

Well that was the plan.
The ponies, however, had other ideas.

If at first

you don't succeed

Give up and try again another day!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Horse of the Year Show

Cadbury & Linzi

Cadbury is now 5 years old and will be at this year's Horse of the Year Show for the third year running.

He will be in the interactive area with staff and volunteers between 4th and 9th October, so if you are planning a visit up there, please go along and say hello.
Cadbury is a classic example of what The Moorland Mousie Trust aims to achieve.

He came to us as a weaned foal, number 55, from Herd 4 from the Dunkery/Porlock area of Exmoor, and spent his first three years eating his way through Northumberland on one of our grazing schemes. Here, he was lightly backed before travelling to his first Horse of the Year Show in 2009.

Since then he has lived with Linzi in North Devon, in company with other Exmoors. His beautiful behaviour and kind nature has earned him many adoring fans. At 12.3hh, he is well up to height and is a lovely chunky comfortable ride. He is also well-known for his habit of sitting on his bottom like a teddy bear!

This will be his last Horse of theYear Show and later this year he will be returning to his home ground on Exmoor to take up residence in a permanent foster home. 

Friday, 23 September 2011

A Tale of 5 Abandoned Ponies

Earlier this year, in March, we received a telephone call from a lady in Combe Martin telling us she had found five young Exmoor ponies in one of her fields. She had found a ramp mark in the gateway and realised they must have been abandoned there over night.

She called various welfare organisations but no-one was willing to take them, so they were collected by the RSPCA and brought to us at the Centre.

Just when we thought we'd got through this season's intake we now had five more to take care of, all needing worming, de-lousing and handling before being castrated so that they could be re-homed. Our resources were stretched as never before.

They were a motley bunch as you can see from these photos taken when they first arrived.


We have called the four colts Jigsaw, Bruce (Oldfield), Lacoste and Bennetton, and the young filly is Vivienne (Westwood).  All designers - which, of course, you've already guessed!

They have all settled happily. Bruce and Jigsaw have been gelded and the youngsters,  Lacoste and Bennetton, will be meeting the vets in the new year.


After a few months TLC, they are all looking fit and healthy, and are almost ready to go to foster homes or grazing schemes.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Tom Goes Back to School

Something has been bothering Tom, one of our riding ponies, and we're not sure what it is. Is it his back? Or his mouth? Or something else entirely?

He's just had a lovely bit of gentle back treatment and is feeling all relaxed - so the plan is to go back to the beginning and, by process of elimination, see if we can find out what's bugging him.
Today he started with a head collar and a bit of long-reining and, as you can see,  he behaved impeccably. No problem there.

Next we'll try him with a bridle, then a saddle. If none of that bothers him, Linzi will be up in the saddle and hopefully, by then, we will know what the trouble is.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Getting Involved

If you would like to know more about the work of The Moorland Mousie Trust and the Exmoor Pony Centre, there are many ways in which you can join in, enjoy yourself, and help the ponies at the same time.

Visitors, whether members or not, are always welcome; as are any offers of help should you feel like it. We are always grateful for help with everything from working with the ponies, to admin or gardening.

If you feel like joining us, membership of the Trust costs only £3 per month and enables you to keep in touch with developments.

There are many ways you can contribute to our work and the welfare and conservation of the ponies and you will find details under the new "Please Support Us" tab.

Our grateful thanks to all who have already done so.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Rama - One Pony's Story

Like Moorland Mousie, Rama was born on Withypool Common in the heart of Exmoor and spent the summer as a free-living pony within his herd.

In autumn, he was rounded up with the rest of the herd and taken to the farmstead across the River Barle where he was separated from his mother, inspected to make sure he was a pure-bred Exmoor, then branded with a star and 23 on his shoulder and his number, 282, on his rump. So his new life began.

Like many Exmoor colts, Rama was not sold and faced an uncertain future. A herd needs only one or two stallions and unsold colts were often destined for the meat market. Now, the Moorland Mousie Trust offers to take all surplus stock and prepare them for a useful life in domestication.

Rama was placed on one of The Trust's fostering schemes in Sheffield where he was handled using Intelligent Horsemanship methods and learned to trust humans. He then spent three happy years on conservation grazing schemes in Northumberland, getting used to being loaded as he was moved between sites, but otherwise receving minimal handling.

When he was four he was backed, an easy job thanks to his gentle handling as a foal, and became a happy and safe riding pony. A year later, he returned to The Exmoor Pony Centre where he is now a great hit with both visitors and staff.

Rama is a loving, trusting pony, suitable for children and adults alike, and is now available for adoption.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Can you offer a Pony a Temporary Home?

This Summer has proved particularly difficult for keeping the ponies weight down. Normally they come in at Easter looking slim and fit after their Winter holidays on the moor. Unfortunately this year, that didn’t happen.  There was obviously a lot more keep about than usual and, coupled with this Summer’s weather, we now have some very fat (but reasonably fit) ponies.

We think that it might be a good idea to look for temporary homes for some of them over the winter months so that they continue to get regular riding exercise.

They are usually away on their holidays from November till March, but some of them could really do with a continuing exercise regime. If you think you could offer to keep and exercise a pony whilst we are busy handling wild foals, it would be a tremendous help.

Please contact us on 01398 323093

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Exford Show

 Exford Show

 It was a lovely dry and sunny day, with a good brisk wind to keep the flies away and the Moorland Mousie stand had plenty of visitors.


   Moorland Mousie's pony, Tiger Moth
and Val Sherwin's Osprey
competed in the Novice Ridden Class



 The Parade of Staghounds provided a colouful end to the day.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Cream Teas & Pony Rides

Looking for something to do on a summer afternoon?

Come and enjoy an Cream Tea in beautiful surroundings in the heart of Exmoor.

Ride an Exmoor pony.

See the newly renovated Green Room, recently opened by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, and learn about its fascinating history.

The staff and volunteers of the Moorland Mousie Trust will offer you a warm welcome every Thursday afternoon (4th, 11th, 18th, 25th) throughout August.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Moorland Mousie Book Re-print


Founder of The Moorland Mousie Trust, Valerie Sherwin, saw one of her long-term dreams come true this week with the launch of a reprint of Moorland Mousie.

This popular children's book, written by Golden Gorse and published initially in 1929, has long been out of print.

The book is now available from the Trust by mail order for £11.99 plus postage and packing.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Barney meets The Duchess

We were lucky with a beautiful sunny day for our second Royal Visit on Monday 11th July.

It was arranged at short notice as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was to be in the West Country for other visits with Prince Charles. The royal couple arrived by helicopter and spent an hour at the centre.

The Duchess kindly unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the Green Room (more of which in a future post) and she also launched the reprint of the Moorland Mousie book, obtainable exclusively from the Centre.

Her Royal Highness spent much of her time meeting and chatting to the assembled mixture of supporters, staff, volunteers and local schoolchildren, without forgetting the ponies for which she had brought a packet of Polo mints.

She commented on the progress that had been made at the Centre since her previous visit in 2009 and, as the Duchess left to rejoin her helicopter, the ponies formed a guard of honour along the path.  Needless to say, ASBO pony Barney managed to steal the limelight yet again; this time he chose to spit the royal polo mint out in front of her!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Why 'Moorland Mousie'?

'Moorland Mousie' is the title of one the earliest fiction books about ponies written for children. Published in 1929, it was written by Golden Gorse (the pseudonym of Muriel Wace) and illustrated by Lionel Edwards.

Muriel Wace was born in 1881, one of five pony-mad sisters. In 1911, she married and moved to Somerset where she became involved with the Exmoor ponies that inspired her to write her book.

Mousie is a spirited young Exmoor pony who, after running away with his rider, is sold. In Black Beauty fashion, the story follows his adventures as his life goes from bad to worse until, finally, he is rescued and finds happiness again.

An apt name, therefore, for a Trust that was set up to rescue young foals and give them a better life.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Freddie Does a Runner

We were accompanied, at least for part of the Sponsored Pleasure Ride, by two Exmoor ponies who travelled from Northumberland to be at the event. The plan was to assess one of them, Freddie, for a permanent move to the Centre.

Maybe we should have taken it as an omen when Freddie took fright at the flapping tent side on the start line, deposited his rider, and went to join the trailers and horseboxes; presumably to hitch an early lift home! 

However, we gave him the benefit of the doubt. He was remounted without incident, and seemed to be enjoying being back on his birthplace - until, about half way through the 15 miles, a large horse with even larger teeth came up close behind and bit him on the bottom!

Freddie was not amused. He jumped sideways under some trees. His jockey leaned forward to avoid the branches, and subsequently exited via the front door over Fred's shoulder! The custom of bottom biting not being familiar to Freddie, he disappeared across Winsford Hill, complete with saddle and bridle, to join a small group of his wild relatives, and was last seen heading north in their company.

Perhaps he needed to settle his nerves with a pint, but just how he got to the Royal Oak in Winsford, only Freddie knows. Thanks to his jockey's athleticism they were reunited, none the worse for wear, and with only one broken rein.

Needless to say, Freddie's return ticket to Northumberland was promptly booked, and any rumours that we have started a new equine sport of catapulting riders into orbit can be categorically denied!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Golden Horseshoe Endurance Event

In May five ponies and volunteers from the Exmoor Pony Centre took part in the sponsored Pleasure Ride, which formed part of the Golden Horseshoe Endurance Event, to raise funds for the Moorland Mousie Trust.

Dylan and Yorrick strode out with their long legs while Abbi, Rama and Sherbert went at their own individual paces, but kept up very well, and we all completed the course together. We are just waiting to hear how much we have all collected from the sponsorship money.