Elm Tree Farm celebrates amazing generosity towards Bella the pony

Posted: 14 March 2024


In this article:

  • What happened to Bella?
  • Generous donations and support
  • Alys' shopping list
  • The future is bright!
  • Visit Elm Tree Farm's shop

What happened to Bella?

Eriskay ponies, Bella and Iona at Elm Tree FarmRare-breed Eriskay pony, Bella, moved to Brandon social enterprise, Elm Tree Farm, with her sister, Iona, from the Isle of Skye at the end of 2022, and is much-loved by the staff and people supported at the care farm.

In October last year, the farmers noticed that Bella was behaving strangely and after some investigation and visits from vets, the devastating diagnosis was shared that after a suspected freak accident in her field, Bella had a fractured neck and subluxated vertebrae.

Whilst the initial prognosis was gloomy, after further X-rays and scans it was decided by specialists that she did have a chance of survival, and remarkably, a full recovery – but it would be very expensive due to the specialist treatment required. And because the injury was so unusual, it was also difficult to predict what Bella’s rehabilitation would involve.

Generous donations and support

A JustGiving fundraiser was launched soon after Bella’s diagnosis, which raised nearly £1,000 from supporters eager to help with the mounting costs of X-rays, medication, hospital visits and therapy. An additional, extremely generous donation from a local couple meant that the farm could continue funding Bella’s extensive medication, which includes being on ‘stable-rest’ for at least six months in order to give her the chance to heal. Specialist veterinary physiotherapist, Ceola Reece, kindly contacted the farm when she heard about Bella’s condition to offer free equine physiotherapy, which will prove invaluable in her recovery.

Plimsoll, a video production company based in Bristol, whose staff spent time at the farm doing corporate volunteering, were so moved by Bella’s story, they also contacted farm manager, Lisa, to offer a donation towards ongoing care.

Everyone’s generosity has been overwhelming, and Brandon and Elm Tree Farm are so grateful for the kindness and support.

Alys’ shopping list for Bella

The family of Alys, who is supported at the farm, also very kindly gifted money towards Bella’s recovery. Alys has a very special relationship with Bella and loves being part of her care team, so thanks to a shopping list created by farm manager, Lisa, Alys has been able to see exactly where her family’s donation is being spent. Alys helps Lisa to assess what Bella needs, order the items, and then tick them off the list!

The future is bright!

Bella really is a very lucky pony. She has surprised all the professionals with her progress to date, and her future is now looking a lot more promising. The team at the farm continue to look after her, round the clock, and the focus now is to get her back up to full strength so she can join her sister, Iona, back out in the field. With less than 300 Eriskay ponies left in the world, the team was delighted and excited to be able to provide a home for the sisters and hopefully be able to breed from them in the future.

It was recently confirmed that Iona is due to foal in the summer, which is very exciting for all the farm team, the Eriskay breed, and for Aunty Bella!

Visit Elm Tree Farm's shop

Elm Tree Farm is a small working community care farm which provides support and training to autistic people and people with learning disabilities. The team breed and care for a number of rare-breed animals, including Bella and Iona. There is also a fabulous farm shop full of delicious local produce, gifts, and fresh fruit and vegetables. The shop is open to the public Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm.

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