We have 3 semi wild ponies which roam the headland, they come from generations of welsh mountain ponies bred for such unique terrain. They are used for conservation grazing and keep the gorse, bracken and brambles under control, this allows the habitat to remain in good condition for the wildlife in this area. They are also very beautiful!
They are very low maintenance and apart from a brief episode of laminitis a two years ago we don’t have to do very much with them. We make sure we have seen them every couple of days on our animal checks just to check their condition, that they are not limping, they are grazing comfortably etc… We deliberately don’t feed them with titbits as we don’t want them approaching walkers. If we haven’t seen them for 2/3 days we explore some of the hidden areas of our coastal headland and always find them in some hidden spot that has some extra tasty vegetation. Until February…….we noticed we could only see two of them one day but didn’t worry particularly as quite often the boy would be just out of sight over the next hill (always more adventurous!). The other two didn’t seem disturbed at all so we just assumed he was about. However the next day we could still only see the two girls so we systematically checked the whole headland – every bit of cliff we could get access to. Still no sign of him. We contacted all the neighbouring farmers in case he had managed to get through the fences, no luck. The next day we searched again but with the help of a friend who owned a drone, this way we could see areas not accessible otherwise. Still no sign. We then contacted the National Park who were brilliant and sent out some Rangers to help us look – still nothing. There has been no sign of him since…….
The only thing we can think of is that he fell off a cliff, we have had some very wet windy weather and he ventures onto some very steep slopes. The oddest thing is that the other two did not seem perturbed at all and normally if one gets separated they whinney to each other and become quite agitated. When one was on restricted grazing because of the laminitis they stayed very close for 2 weeks.
Initially we thought he may have been in undergrowth somewhere unwell but if that was the case the other ponies would have remained in the area with him (as they did with the laminitis). We can only think that they saw him fall and know he died. Very sad we just hope he did not suffer at all.
This is a lovely picture of him with his mother, he is the one at the back with the pinker nose – always nearer the edge of a cliff……