A CHARITY which looks after ponies on Exmoor is asking for help as it struggles through the coronavirus crisis.

Based in the heart of Exmoor, the charity Moorland Mousie Trust, which runs the Exmoor Pony Centre, works to protect and raise awareness of the native breed Exmoor pony.

The charity opened the Exmoor Pony Centre in 2006 and through all its up and downs, the spring/summer months have always brought in funds and visitors. Sadly, this year due to the Covid 19 pandemic the Centre has had to close its doors.

This was a double-sided hit as the income is not coming in from the centre, fundraising events have had to be cancelled and costs are hard to reduce when you’re caring for animals.

The charity has been working hard to move its operations and public engagements online via social media.

A designated Covid 19 Appeal has been launched by the charity to raise funds towards their anticipated £35,000 losses.

Linzi Green, general manager, said: “At present we are covering the costs of caring for the ponies and paying the bills using funds from our reserves, unfortunately the reserves will not last forever so we are making huge efforts to raise funds to ensure future prosperity.”

Over the 20 years since the inception of the Moorland Mousie Trust over 600 Exmoor ponies have been assisted and benefitted from the hard work and dedication of the charity. Many of those ponies come into the care of the charity as young foals from moorland herds and require training, handling and veterinary work before being rehomed to domestic or grazing homes. There are currently 35 resident ponies at the centre.

The community is coming to the charity's aid through fundraising efforts, but more needs to be done.

One young boy took to the pavements with his hobby horse to ‘trot’ 2.6km during the 2.6 challenge in response to the loss of the London Marathon, and four-year-old, Jakson raised £470.

Sarah Washington, local trustee said: “We are so proud of our dedicated staff and volunteers who desperately wish they could be on site to help with all the tasks but for their safety we have asked them to stay at home. The Covid 19 Appeal has been launched in the hope we can emerge from the global crisis with funds to continue our work.”

The charity is encouraging anyone with a fundraising idea to get in touch or to visit their JustGiving page or website exmoorponycentre.org.uk.