Date of Birth: 26/05/2012

Gender: Male

Gotcha Day: Early 2016

Breed: Shetland Pony

Ariane’s daughter Nastassia was volunteering at an animal sanctuary where they wanted to save horses so the founder sent Nastassia to a horse dealer who was going to bring all the ponies to the slaughterhouse. The instructions were to choose 12 ponies to save. Nastassia called her sister Larissa to help her out. They arrived at a small house with a muddy paddock where 30 to 40 dark brown ponies were standing pretty motionless. Choosing the ponies happened randomly, how do you even choose who gets to live and who will die? It’s a truly terrible thing to ask of someone.

Ariane’s daughters tried to spend the least amount of time there in order not to get too attached. The choice was made fairly quickly and the 12 ponies were selected but Larissa noticed a really small pony, the smallest of them all. He was sort of hiding behind a corner and because it was the middle of winter he had a very thick winter coat and a rather tight red bridle which meant that the pattern formed on his head made him look like a bison. Larissa immediately fell in love with him and since he was so small she asked whether they could take him too. Who could resist that little face?

This was what he looked like when we got him: a little bison

The ponies were brought to Nastassia’s home. We quickly found out that they were all very ill. Everyone of them had strangles (an upper respiratory tract infection). These ponies were going to be slaughtered and turned into horse meat for human consumption. A testament to the quality of meat… The ponies received treatments for weeks on end and once they got better most of them were adopted via the animal sanctuary. 

Because he was so cute and a favourite of Larissa, we kept Bison and Nastassia asked her mother if she wanted to adopt him, along with Tina and Spirit. Ariane has quite a hard time saying no to hosting an animal so that’s how they ended up at Mudita sanctuary. 

To this day there remains a special bond between Bison and Larissa. Whenever she visits the sanctuary, Bison will come to meet her. She believes it’s because he knows she’s the reason he’s still alive today, and we can’t blame her for thinking that. Animals have been known to show gratitude to their rescuers so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary.