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Onondaga Nation Rescue Ponies come to Skanda

CHANCE TAKES FLIGHT! Chance, at left, the first foal born at Skanda Equine, the progeny of wild ponies rescued from the ONondaga Reservation, frolics around in the sunshine.

CHANCE TAKES FLIGHT! Chance, at left, the first foal born at Skanda Equine, the progeny of wild ponies rescued from the ONondaga Reservation, frolics around in the sunshine.

— In late February of this year, Marion Secor and Tom D’Aquanni, of Skanda Equine in Cazenovia, received a call from an SPCA volunteer asking if they would consider bringing to Skanda a herd 15 wild ponies recently rescued from the Onondaga reservation. The ponies had struggled through the winter without food and access to water and were in critical condition.

Neither Secor nor D’Aquanni hesitated to say yes.

Quickly, the Skanda staff set up a quarantine facility in a special barn on their property that would support the herd staying together in the early phase of their transition and recovery. Secor said she didn’t know what to expect or even how long the ponies would stay at the farm, but she wanted to do whatever she could to help them.

“All of us at Skanda were on board,” Secor said. “We are not a horse rescue [operation], but I knew we had the facility to support a wild herd of that size. How could we turn them away? And from this experience, we have made new friends in the equine community here in Cazenovia, wonderful people who stepped in during pivotal moments to support us and the ponies.”

The following day, SPCA volunteers rounded up nine of the 15 ponies, and by evening the first trailer arrived at the farm. Skanda staff members and SPCA volunteers worked together to encourage the ponies down a chute Secor had designed that led from outside the quarantine barn to an open area at its far end. While some jumped out of the trailer and trotted into their new home, there were those who struggled.

Two of the ponies were carried down the chute — a bay pregnant mare and a black yearling, both unable to stand or walk. The mare would take almost two weeks to build the strength she needed to get up on her own, but has come a long way since then.

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