NEWS

Ponies saved from slaughterhouse need new home

Abby Jordan

 A pair of black ponies that were to be sold for slaughter in New Jersey have a new, temporary home in Framingham thanks to a local schoolteacher.

Hannah Weaver, 22, a French teacher at Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter Public School in Framingham, bought the ponies for $150 each and is boarding them at Hanson's Farm.

But the monthly $500 per-pony boarding cost is high for the young teacher, who also boards a mare of her own.

Weaver's intention in rescuing the ponies - dubbed Valentine and Diamond by students at McAuliffe - was to save them from slaughter, then to pay the boarding costs until she can find a "forever home" for the ponies.

"They are very sweet, very personable," Weaver said. "They just need some TLC at this point, and some slow training."

The female ponies stand at 14 hands and one inch, and are likely 6 years old. While their past is largely unknown, Weaver said she was told they were a pair of driving horses, though it's possible they were used as breeding stock as well.

A vet has given the ponies a clean bill of health, and Weaver is hoping to find a permanent home for them. She hopes to find an experienced family or individual looking for a pair of ponies to bring up to their full potential, not just turn out to pasture.

"At this point they need an experienced horse home," she said. "I'd love to keep them, but it's not viable for me."

Weaver said the ponies don't have much training, and aren't saddle-broken. In the nine days Valentine and Diamond have been in Framingham, Weaver is getting them used to being groomed regularly and how to interact with her.

At first, the ponies didn't know how to take a treat, she said.

"It was really sad, they didn't know how to take it out of my hand," she said. "They don't seem very used to humans, but they're learning quickly."

Weaver, a 2009 graduate of Boston University who lives in Somerville, is originally from Illinois. Her family has always housed rescue animals.

Seeing a posting on a horse Web site she frequents, Weaver learned of 28 horses that were in a kill pen, waiting to be shipped out of the country for slaughter.

With the help of a woman from New Hampshire who offered to drive Weaver to New Jersey to pick up the ponies in her trailer, Weaver bought the two horses for $150 each, and arrived with them in Framingham on Dec. 5.

While she envisioned herself as a horse rescuer one day, Weaver said she didn't think that time would come less than a year after she finished college and began her first teaching job.

But seeing the picture of the two black ponies drove her to action, and she hopes to find them a permanent home in the coming months.

Weaver can be contacted by e-mail at weaverhm@gmail.com.

Abby Jordan can be reached at 508-626-4449 or ajordan@cnc.com.