In Maple Ridge, British Columbia, the Anderson family, who own and operate Harlequin Stables, have rescued 12 ponies during the pandemic. In order to raise funds to keep the rescue animals safe and healthy, they’ve devised a fun seasonal campaign – Santa Pony, starring Jonny, an adorable little guy who is ready to take traditional Christmas photos.
A post on the Harlequin Stables Facebook page reads, “Jonny and his friends are spreading some Christmas cheer this year with their live Santa Pony display. Since there is no mall Santas this year, Jonny has put on his red coat and is offering Covid-friendly photos. Everything will be completely safe and following all Covid requirements. All proceeds will be going to the twelve rescues’ fund and we like to expand our rescue group as much as possible.”
Laura Anderson told the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadow News that on the first day, little Jonny raised enough money to buy two months of hay for him and his rescued friends. His new job and new life are a far cry from where he came from. “When we got him through an organization that rescues horses in Alberta, we couldn’t even touch him,” she said. “He had been tied to a post and couldn’t see out of one eye.”
The display began on the first weekend in December and will continue until Christmas Eve (Dec. 24). Laura points out, “Rescuing one horse may not seem like a lot, but it changes the world for that one horse.”
Over on the east coast, the Newfoundland Pony Society (NPS) and other fans of the Newfoundland Pony are raising funds to create a sanctuary in the Trinity Bay area. The breed has a long history with the province and arrived with British settlers. According to the NPS website , “the ancestors of the Newfoundland Pony were primarily Exmoor, Dartmoor and New Forest ponies and to a lesser extent, Welsh Mountain, Galloway (now extinct), Highland and Connemara ponies… Isolated from the rest of the world, the ponies intermingled for hundreds of years, breeding in the seclusion of Newfoundland’s coves to produce a sturdy pony uniquely our own.”
During the 1970s and ’80s there was estimated to be around 4,000 of the ponies, but many were sold to slaughterhouses and the breed was nearly wiped out. The Newfoundland government declared the pony a Heritage animal; however, most of what remains are geldings and aged mares. The NPS and other passionate advocates of the breed are doing what they can to continue the breed, but it remains critically endangered with approximately 154 ponies in the last count in 2008.
The NPS have taken a lease on 25 acres and plan to clear the land and renovate the current building in order to open what they’re calling the Newfoundland Heritage Pony Park. So far, the group have raised $50,000 with a goal of $250,000. For more information or to donate click HERE.
Have a Very Merry Pony Christmas!