Thursday 26 April 2018

This woman went to great lengths to ensure her rescue ponies remained safe during Storm Ophelia

Amanda has been housing her two rescue Shetand ponies at home since Storm Ophelia tore the roof off their barn
Amanda has been housing her two rescue Shetand ponies at home since Storm Ophelia tore the roof off their barn

Sasha Brady

A Waterford woman went to great length to ensure that her two rescue Shetland ponies weren't injured during Storm Ophelia.

Amanda Power keeps two large horses and two Shetland ponies on her property in Dungarvan. When Storm Ophelia hit on Monday she was worried how it would affect the animals.

"I had the two larges ones in the stables but I kept the doors chained open so that they could bolt outside if they got a fright. I didn't want to keep them trapped in there. They would have been too anxious," she told Independent.ie.

"And in the panic they probably would have trampled over the two Shetlands so I decided it might be better to keep the Shetlands in the house and out of their way.

Amanda and her rescue Shetland ponies
Amanda and her rescue Shetland ponies

"One of the Shetlands - Little Peaches - has dwarfism and trips over everything. She's very clumsy so I knew she wouldn't have stood a chance. I was initially just going to bring her inside but she would have pined for her partner George so I brought the two of them in.

"They were so happy and content in the house, I couldn't believe it," she said.

Amanda kept the horses in her spare room for 24 hours. She laid a tarp on the floor to keep the mess to a minimum.

"I'd been doing up the place so the spare room was quite empty anyway. The ponies are only about waist-high, about the size of a large Labrador so it wasn't too different to having dogs in the house," she explained.

The tin roof from Amanda's shed
The tin roof from Amanda's shed

Amanda said she was lucky that she took the precaution of bringing the Shetlands in because within a few hours the winds from Storm Ophelia blew the roof off her stables.

"It lifted like a tin opener, there was no warning. It all came off in one piece. The horses bolted straight away. So I definitely made the right decision by bringing the Shetland ponies in and out of their way."

Amanda works as a carer and said she hopes to use the Shetland ponies as therapy horses for some of her elderly clients, especially those suffering with Alzheimer'ss.

"I used to be an exercise jockey. I've been around horses since I was five and I rode and looked after race horses for two years in Australia but my horses are just field ornaments. I just like taking care of them and having them around. They'd make good therapy horses so I'd like to do that at some stage."

Amanda covered her horses in rugs to keep them warm during Storm Ophelia
Amanda covered her horses in rugs to keep them warm during Storm Ophelia

Amanda rescued George, who was on his "last legs" at a horse fair.

"I bought him for €60 from two boys who had been mistreating him. There were two of them on his back beating him, he was slipping and sliding down the road. He was on his knees at one stage.

Amanda's Shetland ponies
Amanda's Shetland ponies

"He ended up costing me thousands in the end because he had so many problems. He was riddled with worms, he had lice, he collicked about 11 times within a few months, he was anemic, he had liver fluke."

Amanda was about to reluctantly put him down but discovered that he could be saved and after months of intense treatment and diet adjustments he bounced back.

Little Peaches was also on her last legs and had been marked "for the hounds" when Amanda and her friend rescued her.

"She had a crooked leg and the owner said she'd be 'good for nothing' but we took her home anyway.

"She had been a bit of a loner until George came along. People don't realise that they're quite emotional and fragile animals She didn't really know what to be doing. Now she has George and they're inseperable."

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