“Soul Destroying, But We Will Bounce Back” – devastating effects of Storm Arwen on Bodmin Moorland Pony Rehabilitation Centre
A volunteer run, hardworking charity which rehabilitates sick and abandoned ponies from Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin Moorland has been dealt another crashing blow by last weekend’s Storm Arwen.
The registered Charity, Bodmin Moorland Pony Rehabilitation Centre, lost two pony shelters during the storm on Friday 26th November 2021. The shelters had not long been rebuilt after storms last Christmas where reconstruction was delayed due to the impact of the Covid19 pandemic.
Shelley Oldfield, who heads up the Charity, has been supported by family. Her father, a carpenter, had worked hard with a small team of volunteers to rebuild the shelters after the 2020 storms. She explained “the site is exposed and we had rebuilt the shelters in a place where the ponies normally shelter”, however, this was still not enough to stop the new shelters being severely damaged again at the hands of Storm Arwen, only four weeks after they had been completed. It took just 30 minutes for the 60mph winds to do their damage.
Shelly was most worried seeing the ponies running around and “not knowing what was going on”, describing them as “traumatised”. She and the other volunteers are now working hard to get the ponies back into a quiet, settled routine.
Shelly explained about the Charity “we ‘fell into’ pony rescue in 2014 when we took on four dying moorland ponies. We moved onto the current site in April 2020 as it had much better facilities and we now have a total of 9 ponies, some of which are semi-feral and very nervous”. She went on “We rely totally on charity and donations. We are 100% voluntary, we are very small and don’t have the benefit of marketing support”. The ultimate aim of the work is to safely rehome as many of the ponies as possible.
Shelley described the weekend’s damage as “soul destroying” however she remains positive saying “we always bounce back. The ponies keep us going and we have had enormous support so far”. However, there is still a good way to go before new shelters can be erected and Shelly has opened a funding page on JustGiving. They are looking into potential solutions and alternative designs for the new shelters to try to minimise any further storm damage in their exposed position.
Shelley is determined to continue to help the ponies and give them the best chance of a safe and happy future. If you would like to support the appeal for funding for new shelters, you can donate at JustGiving
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