Part 04 – Moving to the Sanctuary

Part 04 – Moving to the Sanctuary

Seven months had passed since we became owner of 25 wild ponies, turning into 37 and agisted on someone else’s property, when we finally got the news: the beautiful place we were trying to buy became ours!

I remember the day the real estate agent took me to visit the property for the first time, 650 acre of gentle undulating paddocks and bushland, only an hour drive from Perth. I was immediately in love with this special piece of land, no doubt that this was were I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

So finally it was time to order the truck again, but I promised our ponies: this will be the last time, no one needs to ever take you away again.

It isn’t the easiest task to convince wild ponies to walk into a stock transporter, guess you can imagine, but we did quite well on the first day, having to leave only five ponies for another transport the next day, when all of a sudden our beautiful LAST decided he had enough and jumped the 1.6m high cattle panels and the property’s fence and disappeared in a cloud of dust into Toodyay’s bushland. All we could do was watch him and hope that informing the ranger would help to bring him back to us.

So we ended up introducing only 36 ponies to their new forever home, but it still was a memorable moment. One pony after the other came bolting off the truck, the foals trying to keep up with their mums, and when the last one had left the vehicle the whole herd gallopped over the paddock,stopped and gallopped again and again. We were happy to see that no one seemed to be injured and it looked as if they really enjoyed the new wide open space.

Part 03 – The herd expands

Part 03 – The herd expands

Slowly it started to sink in, after the experience of having seven stallions turned into geldings and integrating them back into the herd with their pregnant mares, that I soon would need a space for 37 animals as the births of the foals couldn’t be too far away.

As I never doubted that everything was happening exactly as it was supposed to, we got approached by a local who heard about the ponies and said his neighbor had a property of 100ac in the Toodyay shire he didn’t use at the moment, if we were interested to lease it for a while 😊. Oh yes!

So we ordered the truck, ironically the exact same truck that would have transported them all to the slaughter house, and off they went to spend the next months on this lovely piece of land with lots of shady trees and a beautiful lake to cool down.

This was were our first foal was born, and it was clear that he was LAST’s son. We named him MAGIC – his story will follow later. LAST by the way was doing really well, his wound started to heal and though he couldn’t put weight on his leg he managed to stay on the fringe of the herd without too much trouble.

So over the next months more and more mares gave birth to healthy, beautiful foals, and soon our herd was 37 ponies strong. As they were agisted an hour away from our place we drove to see them every second day and sat with them, slowly being able to tell them apart and giving them names.

Part 02 – LAST – The Stallion

Part 02 – LAST – The Stallion

Where were we? Right, there I was on Friday afternoon, over-the-moon happy new owner of 25 wild ponies and all I had to do was to find out where to place them. 🤔 

At the moment they were safe at the farmers property, but that was a costly version as he had to charge me the normal agistment fee x 25 !

But first things first, an important step had to be done: the castration of the seven stallions in the herd! We found out that all the twelve mares in the herd were pregnant, and the seven stallions had been kept already separate in a very small yard. So I tried to organise a vet as quick as possible to be able to get the boys out of this terrible confinement and back with their herd.

Have you ever seen a wild stallion at the peak of his years? Now imagine this times seven plus the stress under which they were, all confined with their rivals and away from their girls they were supposed to protect.

That’s what the brave vet faced who agreed to come and do the job. But he wasn’t faced at all. He turned up with his crew on Tuesday morning and went to work, turning seven beautiful stallions into had-to-be geldings.

I was amazed at the power in these not even full sized horses, at some point I thought the cattle crusher we had to use was going to break under their hooves!

But all went well, until we had done the last of the seven, a beautiful white boy, and realized that he had a massive wound above his hoof and his tendeons were cut. It must have happened during one of their fights, and the vet declared that he most likely never would be able to walk on this leg and that he recommends to have him put down. Everyone present agreed with him, but the decision was with me, and I clearly stated that I wanted to give him a chance.

The farmer told me that the boy seemed to be very clever as he was the last on the truck coming to his place, the last into the holding pen and now the last to be captured for castration, so I got my first pony with a name: LAST. And you will see his story wasn’t finished there.

Part 01 – Our journey begins

Part 01 – Our journey begins

Our WILD PONIES 🐎🐎🐎🐎

It was in 2003 that we came across a herd of 25 wild ponies, agisted on a farmer’s property as part of a “liquidation mass” from a rural business in bankruptcy. The truck was ordered for Monday, destination slaughter house, as these young, mainly pregnant horses and their stallions were unhandled and therefor only worth their meat.

I remember so well, it was Wednesday when I made the decision that this was not going to happen! Not that I had any place to put them, they certainly wouldn’t fit on our suburban property! That didn’t change my decision, and so I contacted the legal group dealing with the case, and was instructed to send them a written offer to take possession of 25 wild ponies. Lots of forwards and backwards later and it was already Friday afternoon, and I had until 3pm to fax over my offer.

There I was, standing in my daughter’s school office as this was my best access to a fax machine, 30 minutes left and – the fax machine stopped working! All I could see was these animals being loaded on the truck —– not on my watch!!! And then, 15 minutes to the dead line, the fax went through, leaving me in this state of massive relief before I got the idea: and now you have to find a place for them😳 😳 😳 😳