A Happy Haven for Horses :: Katy
On the Saturday 26th January 2008, after my horse riding lesson, my
Dad and I went to the Horse Trust HQ originally known as The Home of
Rest for Horses at Speen in Buckinghamshire, set in 200 acres of lovely
Buckinghamshire countryside, it was founded way back in 1886, and it
provides a permanent safe-haven retirement home for over 100 horses,
which are lovingly looked after by its dedicated staff with the much
needed help of willing volunteers.
As you know I am a great horse lover, so I was very excited about my visit! I have been there many times before, as I am lucky enough to live not too far away.
The day before my school (Stoke Mandeville Combined School) had a homemade cake stall at school, to raise funds for this deserving charity, so I thought I would take the money with me, and present it in person, (any excuse to go there really!) The cake stall had raised an amazing £78.68, which Shirley Abbott, the Yard Manager, was thrilled to receive, especially as they had taken on 14 of the horses from Spindles Farm, only two weeks ago, and they desperately needed extra money, to help fund the special nutritional requirements, veterinary care, and extra emergency treatment needed to nurse these poor horses and ponies back to health.
There were lots of donkeys, horses and ponies who had made themselves comfy at the home. They were all beautiful, but I had one particular favourite. He was a little skewbald pony called George. He was about thirty, and came from Battersea Children’s Zoo, when it closed down in 2004, George’s full name is Boy George and he is a great favourite with all the children visiting The Horse Trust.
Charlie one of the workers at the sanctuary got him out for me to see, I decided to take him around the yard for a little trot, we had lots of fun, and spent a bit of quality time together, which we both enjoyed, it was really great, he was absolutely adorable, such a kind and gentle pony, I wanted to take him home with me!
We were lucky enough to be at the Horse Trust when the Operation Esther* convoy of 3 vehicles arrived from South West Wales, Devon, and Cornwall. It was good to see how much they had bought for the rescued horses and ponies from Hyde Heath, my Dad ended up helping them unload all the rather large bags of feed, there was a conveyor belt of people working very hard to unload everything, on what was a sunny but cold day, but it didn’t matter a jot, some of the warm hearted people who had done so much to bring relief for the horses were here.
Some had travelled for 5 hours to make the delivery, they hardly time for a cup of tea before setting off on the long journey back home, with the promise of returning with more supplies of much needed hay, it is wonderful, when a plan like this comes together, and so much goodwill is present, it was like Christmas Day for the horses.
I felt if the horses could say thank you, to the people of Operation Esther from South West Wales and the West Country, they would have, I know I felt good just seeing the unloading operation in progress, everything was stacked high in some spare stalls, Shirley and the staff at the centre were thrilled with everything, there were food bags buckets, yard booms, hay, wheel barrows and horse blankets galore, and some medical supplies too. We posed for a quick photo before the light fell, then we had a look at the horses from Spindles Farm, they looked very weary and skinny, with their heads hung low, they looked so sad too, they hardly moved or made any sound at all, you could just hear the sound of them munching the hay.
I was very sad, as I thought of the ill treatment that these horses had been through, at least I told myself, they had come from Hell, and were now in Horse Heaven at The Horse Trust, where they were going to be properly looked after from now on, but I guess it will take quite some time before any great improvements will show through, and they will start to rebuild their lives.
I said a little prayer for them, as I stood there, one of them looked up at me, with sad dark eyes, as if to say thank you, I wondered how long it would take them to trust us humans again, and would they ever forget the terrible things that had happened to them at Spindles Farm. I hope that the horses that are still affected and still suffering at the moment, will soon feel better.
The Horse Trust, being the professionals that they are, didn’t allow my Dad to take any photographs of the abused horses. This was a condition of us all having a look at them, because of the impending court case, which makes sense.
It was a very emotional visit and something I shall never forget. It was a little like my visit to the Imperial War Museum, and looking at the old photographs of the holocaust victims. My visit to The Horse Trust inspired me to go home and look out all my unwanted toys and books and sell them at a car boot sale, and raise as much money as I could to help them out, they really do deserve all the help we can offer them, so they can give these horses and ponies the life they really deserve.
The Horse Trust, relies totally on public funding and receives no
other funding. They have launched an appeal aptly called "Horse Heaven"
which is to support the horses and ponies, rescued from Spindles Farm,
Hyde Heath. I would urge you to support this worth while cause, by
sending them a donation, or sponsoring one of their horses.
Monday 17th March 2008 Latest News on the Horses
The first group of horses and ponies rescued from Spindle Farm in Amersham were today let into the field for the first time. The six colts were soon charging around the field at the Horse Trust, after two months in quarantine. The Horse Trust spokesman Susan Lewis said "Today was amazingly emotional and the tears of joy flowed! "To see the colts charging about the field was a day none of us could have envisaged two months ago when they arrived on a cold, wet Friday night in January."
During their time in quarantine, the colts have been properly fed, handled and given the best veterinary care. As a result they have put on weight, their coats are glossy and they are becoming more people-friendly. The other horses from Spindle Farm have also been put out to graze — the older dun mare, named Angel by The Horse Trust staff, who was thought to be blind is now out with Horse Trust pony Disney, who is guiding her around the field.
"Angel has surprised us all with how well she has coped and is thriving out in the paddocks," added Susan. The Horse Trust reports that all the donkeys are all thriving, too
* Operation Esther
I have been asked by the legal team representing Operation Esther, not to put a link advertising them on my website, but if you wish to find out more about what good work they do, or make a donation, just type "Operation Esther" into your search engine and you will find their website.
Visiting the Horse Trust
The Horse Trust News Issue 19
The Horse Trust News Issue 18
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