5 Hungry Ponies Looking for a Future

    First Day home!
    First Day home!
    I'm scared but happy to have food and water!
    I’m scared but happy to have food and water!
    I'm a little camera shy!
    I’m a little camera shy!

    Hello!  Welcome to my blog!  I gotta tell you, I am new to this, in fact the last 15 minutes I spent looking up blogs on the internet and found that  there is a lot more to it than what I imagined,  so I stopped with the research and came back to just start writing.  I’ll worry about those other details later.

    I am here to share a journey with you, it’s not only my journey, none of us walk alone.  I am becoming more and more aware of how deeply all of our lives are tightly woven together.  As I write this, and you read it we become threads in each other’s fabric of life.  Mind blowing, isn’t it?

    So the story that I will share with you is about 5 abandoned pony foals, but before I can start with that story, I want to go back two years ago, because that is when I realized a real passion of mine.  In the Spring of 2013 I responded to an ad on Craigslist for a beautiful little pony.  I called the number and a nice lady told me that they had plenty of ponies and that I should just come take a look.  We hooked up the trailer and after getting stuck in the snow and ice in our yard, we were on our way to pick up a pony that would hopefully be the future equine partner for my (at that time) 2 month old Grandson.  It was about a 2 hour drive and when we arrived at our destination according to GPS.   It took us to an old abandoned farm place, not just the farm was abandoned, so had every piece of farm equipment, vehicle, building materials, scrap metal…well you get the picture.  As I get out my phone to contact the seller  for directions, someone steps out of the barn.  Turns out we are at the right place.

    She takes us into the barn to show us the ponies.   The ponies we talked about on the phone had all been handled regularly, halter broke and tied in a stall at night.  I had a hard time believing that any of these ponies were any of those things.  She had explained to me on the phone that her daughter had been caring for the ponies due to her own health reasons and that they were just about out of hay.  The summer was incredibly dry in 2012, which created a hay shortage in the Midwest,  finding hay that spring was nearly impossible and when you did, it was unreasonably expensive.  I would guess they had at least 40 horses and ponies and they had been stretching the hay rations for quite some time (too little for too long).   She took us to the pen that held all the coming yearlings and 2 year olds, which they shared with the Stallion that they used for breeding.  By now I knew we were taking home more than one pony.  I told her I had $200 in cash and I would not give any more than that, she agreed to sell me 4 ponies for the $200.  There were 3 fillies in with that Stud so I said I would take all 3 of the fillies, didn’t even know what which ones they were and then I picked out the most pathetic looking colt I had seen in a long time.  He looked like he was really having a rough go of it so far in life so we picked him as our 4th choice.  That’s when my thoughts were confirmed, these ponies never had halters on, and the only handling they had was well, none.   After bit of a struggle, we got halters on all 4 and got them loaded up.  After much consideration, we tied them in the trailer for their ride home.  We stopped to check on them twice on the way home and they were as nice and quiet as can be, certainly they were happy to be on their way to somewhere else.  On that day, I fell in love with the idea of rehabilitating and re-homing ponies.

    One year later I sold 2 of them to a gentleman who wanted a team of ponies, within 2 months he drove them to my place and I got to ride along on their first drive into town.  You would have thought they were a seasoned team, not a 2 and a 3 yr old on their first trip to town.  Another one of them, was purchased for an 8 yr old boy, she will join him later this spring after a little more training and refresher.  Scarlet, my favorite of the 4 is still here but I have had plenty of interest in her and she is a gorgeous and willing driving pony, she is also broke to ride. So in the end I never did get that pony in the ad, and my Grandson didn’t get his own pony out of that group.  Don’t worry, he will have his pony.  Those ponies taught me so much and without that experience I never would have committed to adopting the 5 ponies that I now have.

    So now it’s 2 years later, this time I was not looking at pony ads on Craigslist, or anywhere else for that matter,  this group of ponies found me.  The history of this herd of ponies is what I understand to have happened, I have not verified any of the information so the details may not be 100% accurate.  For the past couple of years there has been a herd of black and white pinto ponies that have moved around in this area.  I believe the number has averaged around 25 head.  The herd originated from South Dakota, a man owned three Shetland pony mares and one Paint stallion.  Over the years they lived as a wild herd in captivity.  They had minimal, if any handling and the herd grew each year.  An older gentleman living in or near Monroe County in WI decided to buy this herd.   He had a livestock hauler bring them to Cashton, WI.  Some of the horses were separated and brought to an Amish trainer to train 8 of these ponies to pull a wagon, actually his dream was to have them pull a Stagecoach in a parade.  Some of them were trained, but the Stagecoach idea never got checked off the bucket list.

    The herd was moved from one pasture to another and finally ended up off Highway 131 near Tomah, WI this past winter.  I passed them every day to and from work. I always looked for them and one in particular, a little guy with 4 white stockings.  When the time changed in the Fall, I couldn’t see them anymore because it was too dark both going to and leaving work.  As it turned out, they did not receive any food or water other than the dried grass and the small spring that flowed through the property.  I believe in late December we had a cold spell and temps dipped into the negative numbers and one of the ponies died.  The owner had abandoned them.   The authorities placed the ponies with a local farmer who contacted the man who trained the 8 to identify which ones he had worked with.  The trainer (my farrier) took all of the foals (5) and 2 of the broodmares home with him.  The rest of the ponies were also distributed to other homes pretty quickly.  That’s when I got the message on my phone, asking if I would be interested in rehabilitating the 5 babies.   I left him a message saying that I would consider it.  First I thought I would get one, and then I thought maybe 2, they would possible make a nice driving team.  I had a hard time reaching Ben, so I went over there to take a look and there were two matching pairs.  Why not 2 teams?  When I was finally able to talk to Ben about them, he said someone was interested in the 5th one so I agreed to take the 4.  I wanted him to hold them for a time before I exposed them to my own horses.  After the time passed, the 5th one was still there, the other person wasn’t interested anymore, so 5 it is!  Five unhandled, underfed, malnourished, inbred, adorable, sweet black and white ponies.   Let the journey begin!



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