After years of indiscriminate breeding and nearby horse owners viewing Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, England as a "dumping ground" for unwanted ponies, hundreds of wild horses living in the moor face starvation. In June 2016, Redwings Horse Sanctuary found seven young ponies struggling to survive. They were extremely emaciated and diagnosed with severe worm burdens. Left on their own, the tight-knit group of ponies wouldn't have lived, and some would have died before their first birthday.
Redwings Horse Sanctuary stepped in to give the ponies a chance at life, but a young male named Arthur took a turn for the worst. Thought to be between six and eight months old at the time, Arthur was given only a 10% chance of survival. He needed antibiotics and blood and plasma transfusions to help his immune system. A team of volunteers needed to manually lift the exhausted pony every day. His veterinary team never left his side.
There was little hope for the tiny pony saved from the moor, but in a few weeks, Arthur started to show improvement. Redwings' welfare vet, Nicola Berryman said,
"I call him my little miracle pony. There were a couple of times when I thought he wasn’t going to pull through, but he has this feisty, fighting spirit that failed to falter and made me think he had a chance at survival."
It took time and dedication from skilled volunteers, but "pull through" is exactly what Arthur did. He beat the odds, and six weeks after his rescue, he was finally reunited with his friends from the moor. Arthur and his six companions were healthy and safe, but their road to recovery wasn't over. They had lived with limited human contact on the over-grazed moor, and receiving care from sanctuary volunteers will take getting used to.
The group of ponies receives daily handling to help them grow more comfortable around people, and Arthur is leading his miniature herd by example. Berryman said,
"You can't help but smile when you see them, and Arthur has become the sweetest little pony. He will always have a special place in my heart."
Redwings Horse Sanctuary successfully saved Arthur and his friends, but their work on Bodmin Moor isn't over. The culminating problem is that there are simply too many ponies trying to survive off the land. The 208-square-kilometers of moor is not capable of sustaining so many animals, and the situation isn't getting better. Redwings Horse Sanctuary plans to continue their efforts to rescue ponies and control the pony population, but they can't do it alone. Visit their website to make a donation and help rescue horses like Arthur.
Featured Image Source: Facebook/Redwings Horse Sanctuary