Betti Jane's Ponies
Many of our visitors and supporters have asked questions about six of our ERL residents. “Betti Jane’s Ponies,” as they are affectionately known around here, include PJ (Phantom Jet), Joe, Bella and her son Mr. George Rascal (Wee George), Michelangelo, and Leonardo.
In the summer of 1989, a traveling circus abandoned these ponies, an elephant, a zebra, a boa constrictor, a chimpanzee and several other animals, in a parking lot without food, water or shelter. They suffered for three days in the hot sun before help arrived. Betti Jane Mackal, a Virginia state humane investigator, seized the animals and was able to place them in appropriate foster homes. Two years later, when ERL was just getting started, the ponies came to live with us and assist in our our fundraising efforts.
PJ, an 11-hand Pinto Shetland pony gelding, and Joe, a 12-hand Icelandic pony gelding, are the captains of the ERL Pony Ride Team. These boys are very trustworthy; they love children and they really seem to know their jobs. When not giving rides they live a life of leisure with all the grass and carrots their little tummies can hold.
Bella, a 7-hand Fallabella mare, is queen of the pony herd. She and her son George, who stands only 26 inches tall, are too small to give pony rides, so their mission is to be cute and to be petted, helping to raise money for their bigger friends!
Michelangelo enjoyed many happy years with us, but has unfortunately since passed away. The rest of the pony team will continue residing at ERL while remaining in the custody of Betti Jane.
We extend our deepest thanks to Betti Jane for saving these animals and for bringing such wonderful creatures into our lives.