Shetland ponies need a helping hand at World Horse Welfare

11/04/2012

World Horse Welfare is calling on volunteers to come and walk our Shetland ponies to keep them trim during the summer months.

Volunteers walking Shetlands

Our Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Snetterton, Norfolk is currently caring for more than 100 horses and ponies and seven of them are Shetlands. They are kept on restricted grazing but need some exercise to keep them at a healthy weight. Many of the ponies are too small for our horse walker as they can duck under the dividers therefore it was felt that local horse lovers may want to lend hand in taking them for a walk.

Hall Farm Centre Manager Sue Hodgkins says: “We keep a very close eye on all our horses and ponies to make sure they are all at the right weight, but the Shetland ponies are too small to be ridden and the horse walker isn’t suitable, so we thought an excellent way for them to get some exercise is for members of the public to come and take them for a walk around our beautiful tracks.

“After the success a few years ago when we gave staff the opportunity to walk some of the Shetlands in their lunch break, we thought this time we would extend the offer to members of the public. The ponies are all very well-behaved as they are used to taking part in demonstrations at our open days and some of them would even be happy with their handler walking a dog on a lead at the same time.”

Upon arrival, the volunteers would have a short induction which would include: - how to put on a headcollar, how to lead in hand and what they would need to do if the pony is naughty. The volunteers must wear sensible closed-toe shoes (no flip flops or sandals) and must wear gloves.

Sue Hodgkins goes on to say: “We are happy for people to come to the centres on any day of the week between 10.30am and 12.30pm to help out. If we get people regularly volunteering we can put together a rota and keep track of the ponies’ weight loss, which might even create a bit of healthy competition!”

Anyone interested in the Shetland walking must be 18 years or over.  Contact Sue Hodgkins on 01953 499100 for more information or to book in a time to come and walk one of the Shetland ponies.

For more information about World Horse Welfare and to learn how you can assess the right weight of your horse or pony, please visit our right weight advice pages.