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PESTKA and PUDER

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Update 6th December 2021
Pestka and Puder are with us!

Both ponies are already at home on our farm, looking around with curiosity. Puder would be happy to play in the first snow, but unfortunately he still has to wait! Mandatory quarantine and examination await Pestka and Powders. However, this is not the last winter in the life of these brave ponies. Thanks to you, many more will survive!

On behalf of Pestka and Puder, we thank you with all our hearts!

Their story

We traveled very, very far to get them. The finger on the map brought us there near lunch time. But the finger on the map does not take into account either the rain that makes the roads slippery or the traffic jams along the route. Now is the time when it is getting dark faster than we expect. So we arrived while the village was in the November darkness. When we got out of the car, the wind was gushing our caps off our heads and making it necessary to close our eyes. This time the air was smelling like the late autumn. The dancing leaves were gone, and the bald trees looked eerie in the darkness of the night and in the light of the lanterns.

One would say, it is the perfect place and time to meet death. We were greeted roughly by an elderly landlord, he took the keys of the padlock and opened the barn door for us. “Was it profitable for you to ride such a long time? Do you lack the horses for slaughter so much? After a nightfall you bother a working man, where are your manners” he said irritated, however, he showed the way to the old barn, to the little pony and her foal. Oh no, it is not that we lack the horses. The 30,000 that go to slaughter each year must live somewhere. But we don’t choose locations. We choose blindfolded. To go all the way here, to Pestka, we were convinced that not only does she have a baby foal with her, but she is expecting another one. And, as you know, we live in Poland. Here, even against the law, also the pregnant ones are slaughtered. It’s just that no one is doing an ultrasound check on the mares. And the subject suddenly becomes clear. No ultrasound mashine? There is no breaking the law.

Pestka squeezes against the corner, presses its croup against the wall and raises her ears. An image of despair, eyes filled with terror. She is shaking with fear on her short legs. She is not happy to see us, not one bit. The host says he bought it from a neighbor, and the neighbor bought it from a friend. It is not known how many hands Pestka exchanged. Nobody wanted her for long. He, the farmer, did not want the pony either as he does not like animals. He has a beloved dog, attached on a 2 meter chain. This amount of love is enough for him. He also says he had a cat but was mauled by the dog. We are silent. We don’t know what to say. He goes on to say that a neighbor owed him money. He did not want to sell Pestka for slaughter, because she was his beloved pony, the whole family liked her. Butr he gave the pony mother away with a foal to pay the debt. His conscience allowed him to do so.

“He is called Puder, what an idiotic name!” My grandchildren called me that. I would like to keep her, but you know, you have to buy fodder, throw out the manure, and who has the time and the will to do it?!” he
continues his explanation. Well, no one has the time or the will. Luckly we don’t approach people in that way. I come closer to the terrified Pestka. Puder is pressed into her and closes his eyes, freezes motionless as if he was expecting a blow. The baby in Pestka’s belly probably doesn’t even know what’s going on, but if human babies can sense their mother’s moods and emotions, it probably won’t be any different for ponies. Not one, not two, but three misfortunate beings. And no one around who cares about their fate.

I flash the lamp a little, spin the camera lens. I would rather spend this time stroking the little girl, but we can’t help her without photos, so it inhibits my emotions. After a few minutes, Pestka put her lips into the camera. After 10 minutes she gets quite close. After 15 minutes, she puts her head on my shoulder. And I feel the tears filling my eyes. I can feel how close she is to death. I can hear her heart beating, like the tick of a clock that is about to stop, never to function again. But no watchmaker can help here. In fact, only you can help.

We leave the barn. I ask if the host does not want to give back the dog as well. The chain is 2 meters long, so we can’t pick up as this is the minimum legal requirement. He does not want. And he gets more and more irritated by our questions. We sign a preliminary contract. For Pestka and Puder. And for a baby that is yet to come into the world. If it comes … because without you nothing will happen here, no one else will rewrite the story, no one will add a happy ending.

We set off onto Polish roads, hundreds of kilometers ahead of us. The rain is flooding the world around us. Falling, huge drops splash in the flashlights, and the road glows as if a piece of the huge moon has fallen on it and smashed to pieces. We pass more barns, lanterns and lights in the windows. We are overwhelmed with sadness that we were unable to take Pestka and Puder today. We are overwhelmed with sadness that pregnant mares are being slaughtered ona daily basis. It’s not fair. It shouldn’t be like that. This outrages even those who are not moved by the slaughter itself. I am looking at Pestka’s photos in my camera. Maybe the first and last photos someone ever made of her. Maybe if she knew the importance of these photos, she would have tried to present herself better. But, You know what? Animals don’t see in those categories. They want to live. Just like that.