Rescued ponies get a helping hand

Dean Cowan from the Pakenham Pony Rescue organisation with Drumma, the pony. Pics: STEWART CHAMBERS 253011_02

By Gabriella Payne

The Pakenham Pony Rescue organisation are excited to be galloping forward with the construction of their new facilities, after receiving a major grant from the Pakenham Racing Club.

The not-for-profit animal shelter, which helps rescue, rehabilitate and rehome abandoned and surrendered ponies and horses, recently moved to a new location in Garfield, and the team were thrilled to find out that they would be recipients of this generous funding boost recently.

Dean Cowan, the founder of the Pakenham Pony Rescue organisation said that he was incredibly grateful to the racing club, as this money would go a long way towards helping the animals.

“We put our application in in February this year and in July they let us know that we were actually successful,” Mr Cowan said.

“I believe that it’s one of the biggest grants given out in the history of the Pakenham Racing Club too, which is amazing.”

Tanya Ritson from the Pakenham Racing Club confirmed that the $37,880 grant was “the biggest community grant” that they had ever given to a recipient (after they changed their guidelines last year, allowing the club to give out larger sums), and they believed the rescue centre was very worthy of the funding.

“Each year, we give out around $150,000 in grants to the local community,” Ms Ritson said.

“We chose to help the Pakenham Pony Rescue as the premises they are at are fairly new and needed a bit of work done – but they are an equine facility too which is nice, because it’s close to what we do as a racing club.”

Mr Cowan has grand plans for the new ‘ranch’, which is currently home to 39 ponies and horses.

Works are already underway on the construction of a new round yard, all new fencing, a car park, toilet facilities, stables and shelters for the animals – as well as a brand new barbecue and family picnic area on the grounds.

“We’re currently building a pony ride area for people to use, a barbecue and family function areas and we’re also endeavouring to have trail rides on the bigger horses eventually,” he said.

Mr Cowan said that he would like to thank everyone who had helped the organisation out so far, as this wouldn’t have been possible without them.

For more information about the work that they do, head to