Billy has a new friend

Billy the Shetland pony is a much-loved member of the Woodlands Manor animal family. He is very handsome, pure white, with an impressive flowing mane and tail. We think he is about 18 years of age and from old FaceBook posts, we can see that he once had a lady Shetland friend called Rosie. However, about 10 years ago Rosie vanishes from the posts so we think Billy has been on his own for a long, long time.

Billy looking lonely
Billy on this own

Horses and ponies are herd animals and shouldn’t be kept on their own so when we took over the farm in September it was clear that to have a happy life Billy needed a friend. It’s taken a while to find the right companion but after talking to Hilltop Pony Rescue at Dartmoor, a likely candidate was found. 

Pringle arrives in truck
Pringle arrives at the farm

Pringle is a gelding (boy) Dartmoor Pony, rescued from the moor to help keep the population under control. Before any adoption can take place we had to go and meet Pringle at the center. We all immediately fell in love with his cheeky, friendly nature, he was gentle with the kids and after an assessment of the farm we were granted adoption rights  

Its always a bit nerve-racking when two ponies meet for the first time, you never know how either will react. Pringle’s arrival date was valentine’s day, surely a good omen?

The introduction was made by putting them out in adjoining fields at first to be safe. Billy was totally overexcited, couldn’t believe his eyes and was running the fence, prancing like a show pony and neighing none stop. Pringle was more interested in the grass at first ( not much grass on Dartmoor this time of year) but slowly realised that Billy really wanted his attention and wasn’t taking no for an answer.

Billy and Pringle
Billy and Pringle grazing in the field

Pringle went up to the fence and immediately moved to show that he was the boss, a series of quick bites, lots of hoof stomping and a good deal of snorting, point made? Billy was unperturbed and kept up his friendly call for attention. Pringle matched it with a show of dominance. How will this one end up? To get this far and for them to not get on would be heartbreaking.

We decided to keep Billy and Pringle separate for a few days and take it slow. In the barn, they were in adjoining sections of the barn and in the day, turned out in adjoining fields. Gradually Billy was calming down in Pringle’s presence so we let them out together. To be honest there was an almighty fight, which left Ava-Grace (our 10 years old) running for Dad, as she was worried for Billy. Luckily by the time they both got back to the field, it has turned into sniffing rather than kicking and since then it’s got better and better.

Billy remains ecstatic about having a new friend at long last and never leaves Pringle’s side. Pringle is getting use to the attention and Billy’s irresistible charm!