Shetland Ponies found living in horrific conditions found loving new homes by Blue Cross

Two elderly Shetland ponies found in horrendous conditions among 40 other horses standing on 4ft high mounds of muck with their heads touching the roof of their stable have been found loving new homes by national pet charity Blue Cross.

Edern, 19 (below) and Worzel, 20 (right), were rescued by the RSPCA who found them living in horrific conditions, with horses in mud up to their knees and some foals in the paddock unable to move as the mud was up to their chests.

The animals were found without water, hay, or clean dry bedding and didn’t have a hard standing area to stand out of the mud. Several were found with overgrown hooves due to lack of farrier treatment.

The RSPCA said they found some of the horses and ponies stood on old hay, muck and faeces up to the inspectors’ shoulders, approximately 4 feet high.

Some of the horses were unable to lift their heads up as the muck was so high their heads were touching the roof of the stable and they had no food or water. They spent several hours digging out the horses. One stable door was found nailed shut and a crowbar was needed to prise it open.

Following an RSPCA prosecution, their owners were convicted of five animal welfare offences each after a trial and have been disqualified from keeping all animals. 

Edern and Worzel were transferred to Blue Cross in Burford so the charity could find them new homes. 

Clare Bevins, Horse Welfare Supervisor at Blue Cross in Burford, said: “We were shocked to see the horrific conditions the horses had been kept in and made to endure.

“The RSPCA did a great job handling and caring for these ponies after their ordeal. We were happy to take them in and find them loving new homes after the neglect they had suffered in their previous home.

“Despite his ordeal, Worzel was very confident and cute, while Edern was a little more nervous because he has some vision issues which makes him a little wary of people approaching.”

RSPCA inspector Terri-Ann Fannon said: “This is the worst horse case I have been involved with during my career with the RSPCA. I offered to help on numerous occasions and none was taken up.  The horses were knowingly kept hidden in these conditions for a long period of time. I am pleased to hear Edern and Worzel are now in loving homes after enduring such misery.”

Edern’s new owner Paula Moody said: “We were devastated when we lost our horse Max at the age of 28. He left such a massive hole and our horse Astro, who is 17, was very sad and we knew we needed a new companion for him. We’ve had Astro since he was three years of age so they had been companions for a long time.

“When we met Edern at Burford we knew straight away that he was perfect. He’s got the sweetest character. The team at Blue Cross told us he has a little bit of an issue with his eyes which the vet says could be down to him being kept inside in his previous home, we’re not actually sure how well he can see but he’s getting on ok thankfully and wears a fly mask to protect his eyes when he goes outside.

“Edern just ticked all the boxes and he’s settled in so well. It’s great for Astro to have a new friend and they’ve bonded so well. He’s still a little nervous around people, no doubt due to what he has been through, but he just needs time and patience and it’s very rewarding to see him coming on in our home.”

Worzel’s new owner Jackie Davis said: “After having to say the saddest farewell to our cheeky Blue Cross Shetland, Harry,  my partner Mark and I were devastated, but to see my horse, Harley, pacing in the field and calling for his beloved best friend Harry, it was absolutely heartbreaking.

“We knew Harley was desperate for a companion so to my surprise, it seemed like fate to see Worzel, a very handsome little chap, available on the Blue Cross rehoming website.

“At the age of 20 years old, Worzel was a perfect match as Harley was nearing 21, so the decision was made!  Due to Harry being a Blue Cross pony we were able to progress with rehoming Worzel quickly and decided to just get him delivered. 

“So our first meeting was when he arrived at our home in Kent, and at that moment Harley’s head lifted and his ears pricked up, but things didn’t quite unfold as we had hoped. 

“Harley just longed to be friends with Worzel, but the little fella, all 8hh of him, challenged my 16.1hh Harley to be the dominant one! Thankfully the boys have settled now and are very happy together.   

“Worzel is such a sweet little boy, a dream to handle and he is great with our little dog Mavis.  He loves being groomed and is gaining our trust all the time. 

“Worzel has made our family complete again… this is his forever home… he’s safe now, cared for, spoilt rotten and loved very dearly.”

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