Gelligaer and Llangynidr ponies thriving one year after rescue

Gelligaer ponies rescue
Image: Kenny, Bradley and Laura from Llangynidr rescue now living happily at Redwings

In April 2016, we assisted RSPCA Cymru and Powys County Council with the removal of 11 horses and one foal from Llangynidr Common. Seven ponies and one foal were also rescued from Gelligaer Common with the support of RSPCA Cymru and Caerphilly County Council later that same day. Read more about the rescue operations here.

Image: Ponies on Llangynidr (left) and Gelligaer (right) commons

Over the past year in our care, two further foals have been born to mares rescued from Llangynidr Common but, sadly, an older horse was put to sleep due to ongoing lameness. Of the group from Gelligaer Common, one pony sadly passed away, another is being rehomed by the RSPCA and a foal has been born at the Sanctuary.

These 21 horses are now under our permanent care and are thriving. However, while many of the horses have recovered physically, many are still very timid and in some cases fearful of human contact, so they will next be undergoing specialist handling programmes with our Behaviour team to help them trust people.

And in true Redwings style, both herds have been named after themes. The Llangynidr horses are all named after GB Olympic gold medallists from the 2016 Rio Games, including Laura, Kenny and Charlotte (Dujardin, of course!), and the Gelligaer ponies share adorable names with apples, such as Gala and Pippin.

Image: Pippin, Kanzi, Brina & Gala from Gelligaer now

Nicola Berryman, Redwings Welfare Veterinary Surgeon, said: “All of these horses have come on in leaps and bounds since their rescue. I remember the day we took them from the commons; they were emaciated, had overgrown feet, poor teeth and simply wouldn’t have survived. It’s lovely to have seen them return to health and settle into their new home.

“However, because they are semi-feral horses, many of them are still very nervous when it comes to human contact, which can make routine care such as farriery visits and vaccinations very challenging. Wonderfully, some have come out of their shells – in particular the youngsters – and enjoy a nice scratch, but many have a long way to go and will require all the specialist skills and knowledge of our Behaviour team before they’re all comfortable with even basic handling, which is essential for any future veterinary treatment.”

Watch the Gelligaer ponies enjoying their new life at Redwings here:

You can help us continue to rescue and care for ponies like those from Llangynidr and Gelligaer. Just £5 could help to fund a rehabilitation session with a Redwings behaviourist for a nervous horse. But whatever you give, you will be making a real difference in helping us help horses in need. Thank you.

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