Ponyville Natural Free Living Equine Sanctuary
Ponyville is a place where equines can 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.
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.
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. Ancient wild horses were not cave animals, they lived out in the open all year round. A prey animal do best in an environment where dangers can be detected in time and where the herd can constantly communicate and interact with each other. The stable limit these opportunities. Cribbing, wind sucking, swaying, agression, apathy, everything is a consequence of the horse being prevented from interacting with other horses and not being allowed to be in its natural habitat.
For humans it´s so easy to relate to ourself and our needs, 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 get 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, even more when it’s really cold and humid.
Domestic horses has not changed since it was living in the wild, 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 was rare in wild horses, but occur frequently in our modern horses keept in stables. Pasture grass isn’t necessarily the problem, the type of breeds 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.) It is not a natural forage that a wild living horse could find in their habitat.
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 which the horses need to pass, minimizes or mostly removes entirely the need for human intervention with the hooves. Most of the horses living here never ever needs triming.
The Koniks from the original breeding at Popielno Research Station in, Poland. The breeding there consists of two types, tame horses in stables and feral horses in the 1600ha reserve on the peninsula at the lake Śniardwy, The Masurian Lake District. We would like to thank prof. Marta Siemieniuch, that helped us a lot with all the paperwork and to choose the right horses for us.
Read more here about their semi wild horses : Koniks in Popielno more info (translated online to English from Polish with Google Translate)
Sardinian donkeys from the closed down Frösö zoo, Östersund, Sweden. The loose housing stable we originally built for the zebras will fit perfect for this small herd.
*1 We support and follows the recommended rules for keeping donkeys from The Donkey Sanctuary.
Note: GTranslate is used for machine generated translation from English. (Not very good, but working....)