Trying to rescue a little grey pony (part one)
On the week coming up to 12th February 2011, Gerry and I had spoken to Carole Fielding, the founder of Pablo’s, concerning the plight of a lovely young grey pony in a field adjacent to one of Pablo’s fields in Melton Mowbray. He was going to the horse sales, probably destined for the meat man. This pony had the run of three very large fields along with three horses and two other ponies. We were told that he hadn’t had much human contact in the last couple of years and therefore may be a little difficult to catch.
Carole asked myself and Gerry to meet her husband Roger at 9.30am at the fields in order to help catch him. We arrived at 8.30am and went into Pablo’s field and saw that he was in this field. We weren’t surprised as we had been told that he kept braking into this field and had on occasion broken out of his field and out onto the road.
We walked through the field ignoring him, and went to a gate which lead into one of their fields. We were armed with carrots and mints!! One of the horses and two of the ponies were at this gate, so we gave them a few carrots. The grey pony could see what was happening, but seemed to scared to meet us on his own. We watched him get through some loose fencing and back into the field with his friends, where he felt safe. He then was quite happy to take carrots from us. We then went ourselves through the gap in the fencing and into their field. The horse was very friendly and was following us, letting us stroke and pet it. All three of the ponies were very timid and although they would take food, they were very nervous about being touched and kept running away.
When Roger arrived, he had brought with him some feed and a sedative that the vet had given us to try and calm the pony. We managed to get him into the top paddock, alone, and he was quite happy to have the feed which contained the sedative. We then left him for 30 minutes to give the sedative time to work. During this period of time the horse box arrived ready to take him to Long Clawson.
Gerry and Roger both took time, showing him a head collar and lead rope and generally trying to gain his trust. We then thought it was time to try and get a head collar on him, but although he had had the sedative, he started getting very distressed. At one point he tried to jump through a fence from the top paddock, back to the field with his friends. This was very distressing for everyone as the fence had barbed wire along it and he got his back legs caught in it. We couldn’t get him free, we needed to cut the wire. I ran to our car as fast as I could, as we had pliers in there. When I got back Roger had managed to get the head collar on him, but he was still trapped in the wire. I cut the barbed wire with the pliers and we managed to slowly pull it out of the way and free his back legs. Gerry told Roger that he was free and that he was letting go of him. Once Gerry had let go, the pony bolted so fast that Roger didn’t have a hope of keeping hold of him. It was then, and only then, that I realised that Gerry’s hand was bleeding very badly. I took him back to the car and a very kind gentleman from one of the houses opposite gave me some warm water in a bucket with which to clean him up. I dressed his cuts the best I could with what we had in the first aid kit in the car. Gerry told me that he had put his hand between the barded wire and the pony’s leg to stop him from getting hurt anymore.
We went back into the field and found that the pony had gone right up into the top field, as far away from us as possible (can’t say I blamed him!!) Roger and Gerry walked the fields and managed again to get him into the top paddock. Roger gave him some more sedative in another feed, but even his didn’t seem to work. He was still so very scared and distressed, and trying to break through fencing. We were all worried that he would really hurt himself, so we decided to call it a day. After spending about 5 hours trying to catch him we were all warn out and upset that we hadn’t managed to catch him, but he was so distressed, there was nothing else we could do.
Gerry and I went back to Long Clawson to tell Carole what had happened. If we had of had more people there to help it may have been a different story. We really couldn’t distress him anymore, we had to admit defeat.
Watch out for the conclusion of this story in part two.