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Charities find homes for wild Carneddau ponies

23 December 09 07:17 GMT

Horse charities have stepped in to find homes for 60 wild ponies.

The ponies, all male, were left over from a sale held after the wild herd was rounded up on the Carneddau mountain range in Gwynedd.

The local pony association said there were more ponies than usual for sale because there had not been a proper round-up for three years.

One sanctuary confirmed homes had been found for the ponies, but the weather was causing transportation problems.

The sale last month was arranged so that the future of the wild mountain herd - which is managed by a group of seven local farmers - is safeguarded.

In all 112 ponies were rounded up and 45 were sold on the day.

Gareth Wyn Jones, secretary of Cymdeithas Merlod y Carneddau [Carneddau Ponies Association], said prices ranged from £1 or £2 for the foals, and £60-70 for the fillies [young mares], but the average price was £28.

At the end there were 60 colts [males] left, and these are the ones who have been homed through the various horse sanctuaries.

"We expected not to sell them all, and we are happy that they have all found homes," Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones said there were so many on sale this year because there had not been a proper annual round-up last year, and none the year before.

He described rumours that unsold horses would be sold for meat as "rubbish".

"We got good PR from the sale, and now the horses have gone all over the UK," he added.

To get a better price at auction for the animals this year the farmers secured the services of horse whisperer Dru Butterfield to help tame them to show in the ring. "I was Mr Sceptic about it, but it was amazing," said Mr Jones.

"Four of us were taught the techniques over a weekend, and since then I have taught another lad how to do it too - it has changed the whole way we handle them," he added.

Bernadette Langfield from the Shy Lowen Sanctuary in Sefton, Merseyside, said they had already moved 15 of the ponies, with another 12 to go.

"We have found homes for them all but the weather is making it difficult for us to transport them to various locations," she said.

Ms Langfield said it was "unusual" to have so many wild horses to find homes for at the same time.

She said the sanctuary had been open for 10 years and up to now they had only dealt with three before this.

"Finding homes for them all would have been difficult if it had not gone national, but there is quite a community of us (horse whisperers), and the ponies do come on quickly," she said.

"The farmers are great and do a great job, but it has been difficult to pick up the pieces in this weather," she added.

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