***The Big Give is now over but if you’d like to make a donation to help horses in need this winter you can do so here. Thank you so much for your support!***
This year we’re taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge, which means any donations made through The Big Give website during the period 1st-8th December will be doubled – so your gift will have twice the impact and help even more horses like Chelsea. [Match funding has now run out, so donations from this point on are no longer doubled but do still count towards our appeal total, so please do keep helping horses in need!]
Chelsea came into our care in 2019 in a very poor state and extremely nervous, along with 30 other horses from the same site, after concerns were reported to our welfare line. When she arrived Chelsea was unhandled, lame and suffering from lice and a worm burden. She also had a large hernia but despite being just two years old Chelsea was in foal, which meant that our vets were unable to operate at that time. She has since given birth and the hernia will be treated soon.
Chelsea was extremely frightened of human interaction when she first arrived at our Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre, but thanks to her groom’s patience and dedication she gradually blossomed into a very friendly young pony. By the time her foal Buena was born ten months later, Chelsea was almost unrecognisable from the terrified youngster who came into our care.
Field Officer Becky Bedson was involved with Chelsea’s rescue right from the start and says:
“It’s quite incredible the work that the teams at our Rescue and Rehoming Centres do, when you’ve seen the horses and how feral they are, and yet the grooms can turn them around in a matter of months to become sociable, friendly horses who enjoy a fuss and a stroke and can go on to be rehomed.
“Chelsea was so frightened when we first rescued her, but here at Glenda Spooner Farm she’s well looked after and was able to have her foal in safety, with a bright future ahead for both of them. None of this work would be possible without donations from our supporters.”
Our Rescue and Rehoming Centres are well-equipped to deal with large groups of nervous, unhandled horses. When they arrive, the horses are turned out into large paddocks in a quiet area, away from the main yards and any visitors. For many, this journey may have been their first experience of travelling or being separated from their family group as a whole so once they arrive at our centre it’s important they are able to feel safe in their new environment with familiar companions.
The grooms quietly set about gaining the horses’ trust by taking food into the paddocks, without forcing any interaction with nervous, unhandled horses. As the horses begin to link humans with food, gradually a positive association is formed. As the horses’ personalities begin to come through, the bolder ones will start to seek out human interaction and their rehabilitation can gradually begin to progress. The process can take significantly longer with the more nervous ponies, but our grooms are expert at working with unhandled horses and can achieve incredible transformations.
Though Chelsea had a terrible start in life, her future is now safe and secure thanks to that call to our welfare line – and her foal Buena was born safely in our farm and has received expert loving care from our grooms from day one. Buena has proved to be a bold, confident filly right from the start and quickly made friends once she was able to go out in a field with other ponies. Buena has thrived in the team’s care and is now ready to find a loving home of her own for youngster handling.
Our UK Welfare Line receives around 8,000 calls a year about several thousand welfare concerns, many of which will go on to be investigated by our nationwide team of Field Officers. A call to our welfare line really can change a horse’s life forever – but we couldn’t continue to help horses like Chelsea without donations from our supporters.
From 1st-8th December, we’re taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge, which means any donation you make to us through The Big Give website will have twice the impact. Could you give today to help more horses and ponies like Chelsea? Donate now and double your impact.