Synopsis: Equitopia presents “Don’t Shoot the Zebra Pony” featuring “Ziggy,” a 19 year old, wild, hybrid zebra-pony cross who was bred as a novelty pet but never handled. While fending for herself in the hills at a horse farm in Winters, CA., her feet had become so overgrown that she started knuckling over when she was grazing and laying down from the pain. Because she desperately needed her feet trimmed but no one could get near her, the owner was considering shooting her. When word got to Caroline Hegarty, Founder of “Equitopia,” she jumped in to help. Caroline hired a team of people including Animal Behavior Consultants Jody Abrose and Megan Phillups, and Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai, to come up with creative solutions to help Ziggy. Jody Ambrose patiently incorporates training techniques normally used in other species, such as “classical conditioning” and “operant behavior conditioning” to teach Ziggy to willingly participate in her own care. Ziggy learns that she has the power to make choices to benefit her own well being. What started out as a project to save a wild “Zony,” becomes a strong message to the horse industry… if training techniques that provide an animal with CHOICE is successful with virtually every other species… why don’t we use them on horses?
Science, research and evidence based online education resource on the care, welfare and training of horse and rider.
Equitopia was founded by Caroline Hegarty – a lifelong horse rider and enthusiast. Born in Ireland, her passion for horses began when she was six years old, and continued when she moved to California in 1993.