We are open Wednesday - Sunday, from 10am - 4pm
Visit Us
Black and white pony

Pony rescued from dangerous landfill site

26th January 2022

A young pony left to fend for himself on a landfill site in Gainsborough has had a lucky escape.

As our first rescue of the year, it is hoped this pony’s brush with danger will act as a reminder to all horse owners to keep their animal’s identity details up to date.

No microchip was found

Executive Director of Equine Welfare, Emma Carter, said: “It’s not unusual for us to be called to ponies or horses who may have escaped from their field. A quick check for a microchip and we are able to reunite them with their owners. Sadly, in this case we were unable to do that, as the pony was not microchipped. This meant an Abandonment Notice had to be served, and the police informed to try and trace the owners.”

The landfill site where Stig was foundWe were called to the 100 acre site when staff there noticed the pony wandering around where there were lorries and large machinery in operation, as well as waste gas outlets. When the rescue team arrived and eventually found the black and white colt, he was friendly and pleased to see humans.

Welfare Manager, Rachel Jenkinson, said: “The staff on the site had become very fond of him as he entertained himself by following them around and giving them the odd nip. Despite the friendship, he was rubbing up against and damaging their site machinery and it was a dangerous environment for him which can quickly become a welfare concern.”

“Our welfare team were able to advise the site owners that an Abandonment Notice should be placed at the location. The notice forms part of the legal process under the Control of Horses Act 2015 (England) which should be followed when a horse is believed to be abandoned.

The team also helped with attempts to trace the pony’s owner, but all efforts were fruitless.

Our Field Officer was able to get close enough to scan the pony for a microchip – a legal requirement in all horses and ponies.

None was found, so he was removed for safety reasons and temporarily boarded with us until the Abandonment Notice ran its course – which is four working days.

Stig of the Dump

Rachel said: “We named him ‘Stig’ from the children’s book ‘Stig of the Dump’. He was a bit dishevelled but otherwise there were no immediate health concerns and he was very friendly. The team managed to put a head collar on and walk him back to the trailer but, being a young colt (uncastrated male horse), Stig was very playful and was displaying typical youngster behaviour by nipping the team and wanting to play.”

Friendly Stig leads himself

Stig was very friendly

With multiple bruises on their arms and a long walk ahead, the team decided to give him a lead rope to carry which kept him entertained until he reached the trailer. Stig seemed to be very proud of his new toy and enjoyed the attention from his new-found friends.

Rachel added: “He loaded straight on to the trailer without issue and travelled really well back to Bransby Horses.”

In 2021, 25 abandoned equines came into our care – we also supported local authorities and landowners with many more.

Stig, who is around 12hh high and about two years old, is now safe and thanks to our wonderful and generous supporters, he will be cared for by us for the rest of his life.


His journey here began with a full health check, a good bath and tidy up, and he will continue with a tailored programme developed by our expert teams to meet his individual needs, including diet, enrichment and training.

Welcome to Bransby Horses, Stig.




Stig is now safe at Bransby Horses

What the law says about horse ownership

Since 2020 it has been a legal requirement for all equine owners to make sure their horses are microchipped and the details of ownership are up to date.

Microchips are important as they allow owners to be traced through the Central Equine Database- check

If you have a horse make sure your details are up to date with the Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) and the microchip is properly registered with them. This will help lost or stolen horses to be reunited with their owners.

An Abandonment Notice runs for four working days and unfortunately, Stig’s expired without anyone coming forward. At the end of the notice, the ownership of the animal is legally transferred to the landowner who can then decide what to do with the equine, which can include selling or rehoming them.

can you identify how an equine is behaving? Take our quiz