Pagham horse and pony sanctuary facing uncertain future due to housing development

A Pagham organisation which rehabilitates and cares for ponies and horses faces continued uncertainty after planning permission was given for homes at its base.

Pagham Ponies cares for animals at its stables at Church Barton House in Horns Lane.

But outline permission for up to 65 homes at the site was granted in 2019 and a recent masterplan has been submitted to show what the development will look like.

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It is part of the Pagham South ‘strategic’ area which has been allocated for development by the council and which will see an additional 400 homes built south of Summer Lane.

Pagham Ponies

Nigel Mundy, who runs Pagham Ponies and has rented the land for 17 years, said: “I was given notice to quit so I went through the rigmarole of trying to find a place for the horses, which is basically impossible.”

Mr Mundy has described how various arrangements fell through which threatens the future of Pagham Ponies.

“I’ve got nowhere else to go,” he said, “If I’ve got to get rid of the horses some of them are going to have to be put to sleep because they’ve got issues which mean they can’t go to a new owner.

“It’s a horrible situation to be in.”

Pagham Ponies

He describes how his work started and how he has ‘gathered’ animals in need.

His son's girlfriend had a horse and was teaching him how to ride, but when he went over to the stables was told there wasn't a horse of a suitable size for him.

After he moved to Pagham his son rang him about a horse that he had heard about.

When he went into the wash box all he could see was a big shadow wrapped in a red rug.

Development site

When it was removed he 'burst into tears' after seeing how emaciated the animal was.

The horse had been ‘found in a field’ according to its then owner, with little access to food.

Nigel was told that it could be put up for adoption or rehabilitated at a riding school.

“As I was standing there talking,” Nigel said, “She lifted her head, with great effort, and looked me in the eye.

Pagham Ponies' turkey

“Unfortunately I fell in love with her and anyone who meets her will know why.

“The following morning I phoned the RSPCA and adopted her there and then.”

Over the following months, Nigel rehabilitated the horse, which he named ‘Ebony’ and said her physical transformation shocked even the RSPCA inspector who came to follow up with him.

He realised there were more animals out there that needed help and sought out a companion for Ebony and the rest is history.

He cares for horses, ponies, and even a turkey, under the banner of Pagham Ponies with the help of volunteers.

They are known for visiting care homes, hospices, and events to raise awareness and act as therapy animals in some cases.

“This is now at risk,” says Nigel, “They’re called the Pagham Ponies because they live in Pagham.”

Nigel hopes to remain on the land as long as possible and says it would not be possible to place the horses with another sanctuary.

Plans to build on the land are still progressing and the developer is currently seeking permission for its latest designs (P/81/22/DOC).