Algernon the Gypsy Pony

Algernon's Story

Algernon (or Algy as he’s affectionately known here) is our beautiful, rescued gypsy pony. Sadly, we don’t know much about Algy’s background, apart from the fact that he was passed around from dealer to dealer. Luckily, a kind-hearted woman rescued Algy and nursed the skinny, underweight boy back to health for nine months.

As you may expect, Algy’s behaviour was abnormal when he first arrived. He was a compulsive eater, aggressive to other horses and extremely protective over his food. This, along with his size, told us he’d likely never been regularly fed resulting in a high level of stress response around food. He also found it hard to relax – due to his compulsive eating habits he couldn’t sleep in the field and was relieved to come into an empty stable so he could sleep, without the compulsion to eat. By giving him little and often it allowed him to lose weight, sleep, gain routine and regularity with out ever getting hungry, that fed his stress about food. We think this is likely how he was used to living before – so we made it our job to make sure Algy would learn that life could be a lot more comfortable with us here at Far From.

Any being that’s been through pain needs one thing – time. And that’s exactly what we gave to our boy. We immediately removed the possibility of Algy having a job as he just wasn’t ready; he needed to rest, recover, and get used to his new life. So, we gave him 13 acres to enjoy (as well as the odd adventure in the 25 acres at the top of the retreat), companionship in Benjamin the Gentle Giant, and a comfortable, warm stable. For the first two years, we stabled him during the day, ensuring he was happy and gave him a controlled, regular diet. Over time Algy learned that he didn’t need to be protective over his food and that we’d care for him. Now, he can enjoy food without the stress that came from his old, learned behaviours – and he even occasionally leaves some food! What a success.

Fast forward to today, Algy’s a totally different pony. Calm, relaxed and docile, he’s our ‘dope on a rope.’ He enjoys a canter out in the fields and takes joy in jumping the old field boundaries. The most rewarding part for us is when we groom Algy – it’s clear he loves every second! To continue improving Algy’s quality of life, we’re considering whether he’s ready for some light work. We want to make sure he thoroughly enjoys his life with us, so we’ll be taking it slow and making sure our Algy is happy at every stage.

How You Can Help

Like most of our wonderful rescue animals, Algernon requires a lot of help to keep him happy and healthy. As you may have guessed, he has a big appetite (so needs plenty of hay), loves his snacks, and takes supplements every day.

We opened the Far From Holiday Retreat in order to provide us with funds to enable us to continue our work with these beautiful animals. During the Covid crisis alone we have taken in eight horses, five pigs and a feral farm cat! All new arrivals must be microchipped and passported (and normally they aren’t), vaccinated three times, rasped, wormed and given a general health check by the vet – with the majority requiring many more visits to ensure that they are happy and healthy.

If you are unable to come and visit us, you can still help us to continue our work by supporting us financially. We have included a couple of options below.

Salt Lick

£5

Salt licks are always accessible for our horses as they are vital to regulate body fluids, help cells function properly, create electrical impulses to fire nerves to ensure muscles contract and aid in healthy digestion. Not only do they love a salt lick but it’s an essential part of their everyday diet.

Apples and Carrots

£5

Horses are used to eating small meals throughout the day and breaking up the treats will help maintain their eating schedule. Almost any fruits – and many vegetables – are safe treats for healthy horses. Apples and carrots are traditional favourites especially with our horses!

Bag of Chaff

£10

We feed Chaff to our larger horses and ponies to bulk out their concentrate feed and to prevent them eating too quickly. Chaff is dried forage that has been cut into small pieces, in contrast to the long grass stems in hay and haylage. All of our horses and ponies  absolutely love it!

Fly Spray

£15

We use fly spray for our horses and ponies, especially in the summer months. Flies are a general nuisance, but for some of our horses their bites can lead to reactions and persistent itching and discomfort, so this really is a lifesaver as they are highly effective and long-lasting!

Horse Lick

£25

 Salt is the one nutrient that horses will self-supplement to balance their diet and is a real treat for Algernon! He gets very excited when he gets a salt lick and becomes great entertainment for him and us!

A Farrier Visit

£25

Every equine needs their hooves trimmed every 6 to 10 weeks (depending on the horse). To have a happy, healthy horse it is essential to have a fully qualified, caring, reliable farrier to complete this task.

Natural Supplements

£45

All of our larger horses and ponies have natural supplements included in their daily feed – which has numerous benefits to their health. This includes garlic, seaweed, turmeric and much more.

Equine Massage

£60

Massage therapy will ensure pathways to and from muscle bodies are free of adhesions, allowing the effective expulsion of acids which cause fatigue and cramp, as well as giving access to oxygen rich blood cells to replenish depleted stores, and repair torn fibres.

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