Thursday, 29 November 2012

Foal Sponsors Day

November 25th was Foal Sponsors Day and this year's sponsors gathered at the Centre to choose their foals although, sadly, the floods meant some of our sponsors were not able to be there.

In the morning, we had a demonstration by Linzi on the various stages of handling a foal.

After lunch, she chose one of the new foals, Bluebell, who had only been at the Centre for a couple of days and had never been handled. 


We had no idea how Bluebell would react to being in the pen with Linzi and were quite prepared for some excitement but, to our surprise, she was as good as gold and perfectly calm. Which just goes to show how effective these handling methods are.

Linzi began by using a feather duster to gently rub Bluebell's withers. Rachel stood watch as someone must always be outside the pen when someone is working inside in case there are problems.

When Bluebell was happy being rubbed with the duster, Linzi used her hands to massage her neck and face.

After about 45 minutes, Bluebell was left to relax and reflect on what had happened. She clearly enjoyed her experience and turned to watch as Linzi left the pen as if to say, 'Hey, I'd like some more of that!'

New Foals

Early in November we started to receive some of this year’s foals, born on the moor, coming to us for a new start in life.

We handle them using Intelligent Horsemanship techniques to socialise them and gain their trust before finding suitable foster homes for them where they can grow on and continue the learning process.

So far, we have fewer foals than in previous years due mainly to the fact that farmers have been unable to get on to the Moor to gather the herds because of the atrocious weather conditions.

The ones we have are settling down nicely and on December 1st we will be holding a Foals Day from 12 till 3 pm when the Centre will be open to the public and Linzi will be talking about the life of the foals, our handling methods and what the future holds for these beautiful rare-breed ponies.

And, of course, the foals will be there too.

Friday, 23 November 2012

PROFILE. Alison - Fosterer

My name is Alison Fisher and I moved to Exmoor 2 years ago. I had  ridden all my life until I had to have my beloved mare put down aged 27yrs. I was so upset and decided I wasn’t ready for another horse in the near future. 6 years later and still no horse. It was just by chance I saw an article in the North Devon Journal about fostering Exmoor ponies with the Moorland Mousie Trust. That was the beginning of my love for Exmoor ponies.

DK and Miller arrived on a sunny but cold February morning. Linzi had just driven away when Jack the old retired hunter we inherited with the property came galloping over in his bright purple rug and frightened DK and Miller to death. To our horror they went straight in the river and disappeared under the water, a second or so later they popped back out none the worse for their experience. Thankfully we did get them into the stable before night to dry off. Ever since then they have become water babies and can often be seen in the river cooling off in the summer.

With a surplus of grass in August Calvin and  Ernie arrived. Calvin was very small and timid and Ernie extremely friendly. They grazed solidly for a fortnight not even lifting their heads to say hello to DK and Miller in the next field. Since then they have blossomed and grown into strong 2 year-olds.

After my first ride on an Exmoor pony (Abbi) up at the Centre I knew I wanted a riding pony.

In November Cadbury arrived. Linzi had been working on Cadbury and had taken him to HOYS 3 times. Before he arrived I had been riding him out with Linzi to check that we were well suited; it was love at first sight! Since then Cadbury and I often ride out on the moor where he loves to say hello to the wild ponies grazing the moor. He is so sure footed, sensible and happy. You really couldn’t ask for a nicer pony to ride.

Fostering the ponies has been great fun and very rewarding. Seeing the ponies develop and grow in confidence is very satisfying. It’s lovely to know they have a promising future ahead of them.

If you have the time and space and a love for ponies then I would definitely recommend fostering Exmoor ponies.

Thanks to Val, Linzi and all the staff at Moorland Mousie Trust who do such a wonderful job with these ponies.