AS THE days grow shorter and temperatures plunge, a desperate horse sanctuary owner is appealing for help to find her ponies a new home.
Val Kear runs Clip Clop Ponies in Wimbolds Trafford, offering therapeutic riding lessons for children with alternative needs.
But the sanctuary has outgrown its four acres of rented grazing land – and, despite hunting for more than a year, Val has so far failed to find new premises.
Now she is asking anyone able to offer a suitable site to step forward before winter sets in.
“It’s very, very hard to find,” said Val, who is uncertain what will happen to her 12 ponies if she fails to find a new site soon.
“I don’t even like to think about it. I just don’t know. The land just cannot take another winter with 12 ponies on it.
“It would be a huge struggle and it will ruin the owner’s land because we haven’t got enough stables to go on.
“It’s a pretty desperate situation. The rain that we had the other day is just a reminder of how bad the fields can get.
“One of the horses has been losing weight and I think they’re stressed. There’s been quite a few tears the past few weeks.”
Val, of Elton, set up Clip Clops in 1993 after getting her first horse – a pony that strayed on to a grass verge outside her home and refused to leave.
Now, alongside riding classes, Val and her team of volunteers provide lessons in mucking out, grooming, worming and veterinary care.
“It’s not all about riding - it’s therapy. It’s just a happy, positive atmosphere,” said Val.
She is keen to move closer to Ellesmere Port, but is willing to relocate further afield to areas in Cheshire or Flintshire.
The sanctuary requires a six to 10 acre paddock, field or plot of land with or without buildings. The site must have running water and grazing land.
The new premises must also have good public transport connections, so the sanctuary can continue to serve families with no access to a car.
Clip Clops will take responsibility for upkeep of fencing, buildings, hedges and fields.
Dee Gunning, development worker at Volunteer Centre Chester, said: “Chester Voluntary Action are assisting this unique group with start up support. I sincerely hope that somebody local will be kind enough to offer them appropriate premises so that they can move forward.”
If you are able to help, please contact Val on 07506 674989 or 01928 727397.