Lady Luna

Tippbarlake Lady Luna - 2017 Orphan Foal from Brendon Common

"We are delighted to let you know that the @JustGiving crowdfunding appeal for Tippbarlake Lady Luna has reached its target of £2000. A huge thank you to all of the generous people who donated to help give Lady Luna a good start, and who understand the time and resource involved in taking on an orphan foal. Not just for the initial care, but in the longer term as well. We would also like to thank the West Somerset Free Press and the Western Morning News, BBC Radio Somerset, AppleFM, ITV West Country, @aponyhour and the Daily Mail  for their help with promoting Lady Luna's plight. We'll keep you updated with her progress.  Crowdfunding is proving to be an essential tool in maintaining our work with the Exmoor Pony Project and we are very grateful to everyone who pitches in to help us help the Exmoor ponies. Thank you again."  Dawn Westcott

See below for Lady Luna's story and also updates on her progress (most recent at the top here):-

Lady Luna in the Daily Mail!

The Daily Mail featured orphan foal Tippbarlake Lady Luna in a double page spread on Sat 25 November. Their photographer Murray Sanders visited us last week and we wondered how Lady Luna and her small herd would respond - and they were amazing. Lady Luna still gave us the hoped for shot of her lying down next to me and she and the other ponies gave Murray some wonderful photo opportunities out in the paddock. Of course, they were keen to show him one of their favourite places too - the mud wallow. And Lady Luna timed her dramatic trot right through it just as Murray was saying, "I hope she doesn't........" But thankfully, Lady Luna wasn't in the mood for lying down in it and stayed fluffy-looking for this picture. 
We're grateful to Murray for a lovely photo shoot and to the Daily Mail for featuring Lady Luna and mentioning both the Exmoor Pony Project and Wild Herd Whispering. 

November - Lady Luna Update

Orphan wild-born Exmoor-X foal, Lady Luna, is continuing to do well. The arrival of Holtball Dick Turpin has made all the difference as she now has a fellow foal friend. 

Lady Luna can migrate in and out from the pasture with her small herd, as they wish, and she has 24/7 access to the foal creep pellets, which she is thankfully keen on. 

We're pleased with her progress so far. Lady Luna has a lovely temperament and she is now busy growing a thick, fluffy winter coat to deal with the change in the weather. 

Lady Luna settling into her new herd with Holtball Dick Turpin

Tippbarlake Lady Luna is gradually getting to know our new arrival, Holtball Dick Turpin and his mother Anstey Princess. Jenny is still very kindly allowing two small feeds a day and Lady Luna is thankfully very partial to the foal creep pellets. 

Lady Luna meets colt foal Holtball Dick Turpin

We have introduced Holtball Herd 11's new arrival to Lady Luna. We are very much hoping that these two will become firm friends - which is just what Lady Luna needs to help her make the transition from being an orphaned moorbred foal to enjoying her new life. Fingers crossed that these two will get on. 
Above: Lady Luna, Jenny and Molly being introduced to Anstey Princess and her new son, Holtball Dick Turpin. Above right, Dick Turpin deciding to have a rest in the haylage pile! 

Orphaned, wild-born, young Exmoor X Cremello filly foal, Tippbarlake Lady Luna, was discovered out on Exmoor, on 6 Sept 2017, standing next to her mother who  had sadly just died. After co-ordinating with her herd owner to bring her off the moor, she has now joined the Exmoor Pony Project and we ran a JustGiving Appeal to help with costs of her rehabilitation and ongoing care, which reached its target in a few weeks. 

We discovered little Tippbarlake Lady Luna - a specially-bred Exmoor X Cremello moorland foal - while we were taking part in an Exmoor Pony walk out on the Exmoor Forest and Hoaroak Valley. Lady Luna was lying tucked in the bracken beside her mother, a free-living pedigree Exmoor pony, who had sadly died that morning. We think she had got hung up in fencing and ruptured something after struggling to free herself. Between only 2 weeks and 4 weeks old, Lady Luna (named because she was discovered during the full moon) was still trying to suckle.

Although she was wild-born and wary, I sat with Lady Luna for a while and managed to make a connection with her. We introduced her to our Exmoor ponies Monty and Monsieur Chapeau (himself a previously rescued wild-born foal whose story is told in Wild Pony Whispering) and by the time we left her, I could tentatively start to stroke her on the shoulder and neck.

The moorland valley where we found her is surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness and has no road access. Our walk leader Rob walked to where he could get a signal and telephoned the farmer who owns the herd, to alert him. Moorland farmers will not generally try to hand raise a wild-born foal this young and the Exmoor Pony Project that I run with my husband Nick is at full capacity - so the future looked bleak for little Lady Luna. But she was brave and even in this distressing situation, was showing a willingness to connect with us. The decision was made to try and help her.

So Nick and I took our own ponies home and returned to the moor with the trailer and quad bike, and our friend Kate who had also been on the walk, to meet up with the herd owners (the Floyd family) - Nigel, Marie, Tom and Taylor - and see if Lady Luna would allow us to catch her. The only vehicle capable of carrying her out of the valley was a Gator and fortunately, the terrain was just about accessible for Nigel to get it close enough.

Lady Luna was still standing with her dead mother and by now looking hungry and sad. Everyone stayed back while I spent some minutes getting close and re-establishing the connection we’d made earlier. This allowed Nick and Tom to approach gently and soon, we had hold of Luna and were able to put her safely in the Gator. We all made our way back out of the valley, across Cheriton Ridge, and to the lane where Lady Luna was transferred to our trailer. She stood quietly inside with Nick as he reassured her. Everyone was smiling.

We brought her back to our farm and into an enclosure in one of the barns. I called Monsieur Chapeau and Monty, who came in to sniff noses with Lady Luna over the gate. They stayed close by all night and are currently acting as ‘Uncles’. They had met Lady Luna out on the moor so can understand what’s happened to her.

Nick had arranged for our local vet to supply some Mare Replacement Milk. Short of food, Lady Luna had unfortunately been chewing away at things like bracken, which are not good for ponies, and had become thin and tucked up. At about 3am, she finally accepted a little milk from a bottle and since then, we have been giving her regular feeds. It is not easy getting her to suckle but we are optimistic that she is gradually improving. She has a lovely temperament and has spirit and intelligence, which gives her a good chance of surviving and thriving.

We already have a large number of Exmoor ponies in the Exmoor Pony Project (over 30) but we felt it important to offer Lady Luna this chance. Bags of Mare Replacement Milk cost around £120 a time and as well as a number of these over the coming weeks, Luna will also need Foal Creep pellets. The costs of her initial rehabilitation, ongoing care, management and development - including feed, bedding, vet, registration, wormers, equipment, etc, will easily run into a few thousand pounds. So we are Crowd Funding to see if we can get some help with this. 

The Exmoor Pony Project, run by Nick and Dawn Westcott, is unfunded, pays no salaries, and is assisted by a tiny number of volunteers. It is not set up as a 'charity' because we prefer to think of our work as offering opportunities to Exmoor ponies and promoting awareness of the breed, rather than ‘rescuing’ ponies. Although rescue is certainly part of our work.

Lady Luna has arrived with us through absolutely no fault of her own and it is projects like ours that can give ponies like her a chance. We would very much appreciate your help to give her a good start. Thank you for your support.

Lady Luna's crowdfunding appeal page can be found here, if you would like to see the details.

This appeal has now successfully reached its target and closed. If you would like to support the Exmoor Pony Project and make a donation, then you are very welcome to do that at using the reference Thank you for your support. 
This short video (below) explains more about our work with Exmoor ponies and our approach to their socialisation, care and training - and why we do what we do:
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