Ponyville Natural Free Living Equine Sanctuary
Ponyville is a place where equines can come to live and be protected for the rest of their lives. It’s a safe haven, where they receive the very best care possible.
Our sanctuary animals has a varied background, they comes from zoos as surplus animals, circuses, riding schools and sometimes also private individuals.
At our Sanctuary, we always put the animal’s best interests in front of our own.
– And always remember they are the reason why we do this, every day. They are treated with the utmost dignity and have no requirement to raise money for any business.
Operating a Sanctuary isn’t easy – nor is it cheap. However, in order to give the animals the very best environment possible, we have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal.
Everything is entirely private, no donations, funding or other subsidies exist for us today. However, we have friendly neighbors and landowners who allow us to use very large areas of land, completely free for the animals.
We can’t change the world by caring for a horse, donkey or zebra, But we can change the whole world for that horse, donkey or zebra.
Irish Cob mare Limonie gallops and plays happily with her herd friends in the snow storm. She has lived here with us since she came here, as a six month old filly. She was born with a severe underbite, and was therefore very unattractive for breeding or selling. She was completely restored in her jaw even before becoming one year old. Today she is grazing like any normal horse with her herd.
Zebra Ayo was born in a German zoo and because of the difficulty to keep him when growing up to a stallion, he was sold to a circus. They soon discovered that one front hoof was growing very crooked. It does not look good for them to keep a zebra with a damaged hoof. In the end, they decided to get rid of him. We have managed to keep his hoofs in good condition ever since, only one time was specialist care needed to trim the bad hoof (SLU Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, kindly helped him). He died suddenly on the pasture without any previous signs of beeing ill. He lived here with us for 8-years.
Afro is also a surplus zebra from a larger German zoo. He lived at a riding scool in Germany for many years and was gelded at young age. When the riding scool closed due to the selling of the rented property, all horses had to be sold quickly. They could just not find a serious good home for Afro. We got the question if we could help him. He lived happy together with the horse herd for many years. He died of high age and presumably an infection he effectivly hided from our knowledge. When wild prey animals get’s sick, they hardly show any signs of weakness, sadly until it’s to late to help them.
Natural horsekeeping, a keyword in our sanctuary
Wild horses live outdoors and their physics is suited for both cold, heat and fast reversal in the weather. The stable is something we humans invented, it is convenient for us, unfortunately usually more adapted to humans than for the horse. A prey animal do best in an environment where dangers can be detected in time and where the herd can constantly communicate with each other. The stable limit these opportunities. Cribbing, wind sucking, swaying, everything is a result of the horse is prevented from living in a natural way.
Since we humans have so easy to relate to ourselves, we think that the horses are happier indoors and under a roof when it is cold and wet. There is a very big difference between human and horse, horses feel more confident when they are outdoors and together in their herd. If they have free access to roughage, coold is no problem. The easiest method of feeding horses in cold weather is the simplest: feed high quality roughage free-choice. Most horses will eat 2 to 2.5% of their body weight in hay per day.
Domestic horses has not changed since it was a wild horse, it is a steppe animal made for a grass and tender plants diet. It is made for eating and digesting food, basically around the clock. The horse has rarely longer breaks than 3-5 hours in their eating. It eats an average of 18 hours per day. Problems like obesity, equine metabolic syndrome and laminitis are rare in wild horses, but occur frequently in our modern horses. Pasture grass isn’t necessarily the problem, the type of breed we’ve developed and the lack of exercise are. And most importantly, rapid feed changes and concentrates can be devastating. (Concentrates are usually a mixture of things like grains, flaxseed, beet pulp, molasses for energy and flavor, bran, vitamins and minerals, and other ingredients.)
Here the animals are given the possibility of a life with freedom to move freely across large areas in varied terrain, all year round. Fields, forests, and altitude differences is included in their area.
The horses at Ponyville lives free in loose housing with continuous access to roughage and ice-free water in the winter months. Even if they can enter the loose housing hall whenever they want, they prefer to stay outdoors in all kinds of weather. Hot sunny summer days are almost the only exception. They stay outdoor all night together, but likes to sleep and rest in the shed shade during the hottest hours of the day.
Natural horse keeping and the freedom to move over varied terrain gives the horse the opportunity to naturally wear their hooves too. Proper design of the pastures wich includes rocks and hard ground minimizes or mostly removes entirely the need for human intervention with the hooves. Most of the horses living here never ever need triming.
News and announcements
2018-09-01 Since fall 2018 we do not have the ability to take care of more zebras, for any questions regarding the zebras please do not hesitate to contact us. One of the reasons is the huge veterinary costs of getting some animals back to a good life. Even if we always want to help, we simply can’t afford it.
2019-05-10 The Koniks is finally here after a trip to Popielno with our old trustworthy horse truck. Everything with the trip went perfect, the horses eat hay and drank a lot of water during the long ferry trip from Gdańsk to Nynäshamn. Now they both stay close together and watches the herd from the distance. It’s remarkable how well their color blends into our nature. It’s highly recommended to visit the Research Station in Popielno, if you are seriously interested in wild/feral living horses.* The breeding consists of two types, tame horses in stables and, at the moment, three herds of feral horses in the 1600ha reserve on the peninsula at the lake Śniardwy, The Masurian Lake District.
We would like to thank dr hab. n. wet. Marta Siemieniuch, that helped us a lot with all the paperwork and to choose the right horses for us. And many thanks to Marlena, who have kept the dream of Koniks alive for so many years.
* This year 2019, it’s not open for visitors, see their website for up-to-date information.
Regarding Koniks and the management of the largest Konik reserve in the world, the Oostvaardersplassen.
We are very sorry about what is currently happening at Oostvaardersplassen in the Netherlands. In the winter of 2017/2018, 3226 of total 5230 individuals (Horses, Heck-cattles and red deers) died, mostly of starvation. The dream of free re-wilded animals in a huge reserve has failed completely. The animals are allowed to reproduce without any birth control, trapped in a huge human-created hostile environment. When the animals are so many, they starve to death, or drowns in the muddiest parts of the polder (land below sea level) in the desperate search of the last eatable plants.
More unbiased information from ICCS is found here
Homepage of the management of Oostvaardersplassen
2019-09-14 We have taken over three donkeys originating from the closed down Frösö zoo, Östersund, Sweden. One jack, a gelding and a presumably pregnant jennet. The loose housing stable we originally built for the zebras will fit perfect for this group.
2019-11-06 Many thanks goes to Evoca Nordic, who helped us with spare parts and support for our beloved coffee machine for free. Great coffee anywhere, and you know exactly how!
Note: GTranslate is used for machine generated translation from English. (Not very good, but working....)