Archive for March, 2008


At ERF HQ, we would like to say a huge thank you to all our members and supporters who have contacted us today to offer their support and their help. We have been extremely moved that so many of you have taken the time to get in touch and assure you all that we are continuing forward with ERF despite the short term issues facing us.

One e-mail in particular has reminded us of the impact that we can have on both equines and their owners and the family concerned have kindly allowed us to share it with you:

“I am Amanda and I have Hugo.  I was fortunate enough not to be on the mailing list for the nasty e-mail, but feel non the less that I should contact you and let you know that I think you are doing a good job.
I have had Hugo now for just over a month.  To see his personality change day by day, his confusion and wariness diminishes day by day.  He wickers at us when we approach and loves to sleep in his stable whislt being groomed and hugged by us all.  Every day I look at him and silently thank you for finding him and not giving up the fight to get him to safety.  It is thanks to you he is here with us, he has brought joy and love to us all and a reason for not giving in to the bullys at school for my daughter.  She comes home every day and tells him her problems, she spends hours grooming and loving him and as he gets fitter she is looking forward to riding him more. 
This is purely down to  your wonderful organisation and the dedicated caring people who run it.  You are to be admired and assisted, not abused. “

Once again, thank you to every one of you who have helped to make this possible.


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Something that has come to light recently is the number of people who have moved over to France to a property with a bit more land than a garden, and decide to get a horse or donkey to keep the grass down. Yes, these animals make wonderful companions but please realise that they are not merely there to replace your lawnmower! They are a huge commitment both financially and time wise. The points below are not meant to deter you from getting an equine, just to remind you of all the important facts.

So, important things to consider are;

  • Where will you get your horse/pony/donkey from? If you are thinking of rescuing (which is very rewarding) please be aware that some of the animals at fattening farms/dealers yards may not have been handled well and sometimes not at all. Be honest with yourself as to your own capabilities and what you could offer that animal. Do ensure you get a receipt for the animal. Don’t be fooled by everything you are told, go on your own instincts too. Don’t be pushed into buying something if you are not 100% sure. Remember little cute foals can grow into big strong horses! Research into the breed to learn the characteristics and if that would suit you. If unsure, ERF can always offer advice and assist where we can in the rescue of an equine.
  • Will the horse/pony/donkey have company? Remember they are herd animals and need the interaction of their own species. Donkeys often prefer donkey company too!
  • Fencing…. Barbed wire and sheep mesh is not suitable for horses. Fencing must be of suitable height and strength for the animal you have to prevent it escaping and causing an injury to itself and others.
  • How much land you have. You would be surprised how quick one animal can eat through a grassy field. In the UK 1 to 1.5 acres is recommended per horse so depending on what area you are in you may need a bit more if the grass is sparse. Donkeys and small pony breeds do not require lush grass. If you are in an area that is very dry in summer you may have to supplement his diet with hay. If your land is prone to being very wet or flooding in the winter you may need stabling also. Strip grazing is sensible if you have a horse susceptible to laminitis or gaining too much weight. Adequate shelter will be needed in the field for the summer as well as winter. Or are you going to rent the land or put the horse at livery?
  • Have you the time to donate to your horse to ensure he has interaction and care from you?
  • Don’t underestimate the cost of keeping a horse! Routine farriery, worming, dental care and vaccinations are essential as well as appropriate feeding/hay/water and equipment such as tack and rugs if needed. It is wise to have a contingency fund put by just in case you need a vet in an emergency.
  • Ensure that your equine practitioner be it vet, farrier etc. come recommended and have all the necessary qualifications. Choosing somebody just on their English language skills is not always the best option.
  • Microchips are now compulsory in France for ALL equines no matter which country your horse originates from. The fine if you get caught is 450 Euros. Microchips also make it easier to reunite stolen and lost equines and verify ownership.
  • What is your lifestyle? Do you live over here permanently or is this just a second home? Do you holiday/travel a lot…if so who will check your horse daily?
  • Responsible horse ownership sometimes sadly ends with having to have that animal put to sleep because of old age or sickness/injury. The usual method in France is Euthanasia and then the body is taken away by the Equarrisseur. It is not permitted to bury an animal over 40kg and there are no large animal crematoriums. It is not a nice topic to mention but essential as we do see so many old and sick horses ‘dumped’ in yards before being taken off for meat, the last thing we can do for them is give them a dignified farewell.

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Titos Update

As promised, here is a short update on our little Titos…..

He has now been wormed, de-loused and we have started to medicate the areas where he has hair loss – it is not yet clear whether these have been caused by mites or through mishandling and a badly fitting head collar. He is currently in isolation in a stable with access to an enclosed courtyard but he is talking to the donkeys on the other side of the wall!  

He is a very gentle creature, well used to being handled and good around children and all sorts of other animals (chickens, dogs, cats etc). He has been out grazing and generally enjoying the fresh air – some of his antics we have captured on the following video…


We will continue to bring you regular updates on Titos and show you his progress in our care. If you are interested in helping us care for Titos, please donate using the donate button below. Please contact admin@equinerescuefrance.org if you would like to be considered as long term fosterers for him. 

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Today a team from ERF travelled down into the Dordogne to rescue a 2 year donkey, Titos.

Last week he lost his 3 donkey friends to the butcher and was just waiting til the next meat lorry turned up for him…..luckily he now won’t have to endure that fate.

The place we collected him from can only be described as a discard centre for the sick,old and of no further use before they get sold for meat. There were old horses and ponies that did not deserve to end their latter years neglected and uncared for….for some being put to sleep at home would have been a luxury due to them. There was an old appaloosa gelding that was definitely blind in one eye but possibly in both judging by the way he nearly walked over us. An old grey horse that was now not much more than a skeleton and had melanomas stood looking lifeless and depressed. A lot of the horses (and dogs!) had ticks and mange,including Titos. What we also found distressing was learning that the Shetlands he had there either went for meat or to the Laboratory for animal testing, something that we are now going to be looking into further.

Titos will now be wormed, have his skin treated (as he has several bald patches), be de-liced and de-ticked and will see the farrier and dentist.He has a very sweet nature and is extremely gentle.

We will post some more photos over the next few days.If you would like to offer Titos a home when he is ready to be re-homed or you would like to   to help towards his care we would be very grateful.

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“Just to let you know that your advert has found an excellent home for our girls.  Thank you so much for your help.”
We are very pleased that these remarkable previously rescued Trotters have found a new home via the ERF website!Have a look at the other horses advertised on there under re-homing.

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Pour les amoureux de l’âne

This is a great bi-monthly publication dedicated to donkey lovers in France (both young and old) – 64 pages of advice and information as well as a poster in every issue! The current issue is Mars / Avril and is in the shops now.

Cahiers de l’ane

We know that these magazines can be a bit difficult to find so thought that it might be a good idea to let you know the subscription details: 

e-mail: cahiers-de-ane@orange.fr


6 issues (one year): 27€ (in France)                    

12 issues (two years): 52€

Address: B 2i- Les Cahiers de l’Ane, 15 rue de Mery, 60420 MENEVILLERS

Princess Fiona

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La Vie Associative plays an important role in everyday life in France. A recent survey showed that, amazingly, there are over 1.1 million associations supported by 14.2 million volunteers and 935,000 employees. Associations can be found in all walks of life from sport and education to all types of leisure pursuits, and they are recognised as an important part of the economy in France.  Associations rely upon volunteers to direct and support them and through these associations, individuals are able to make a significant impact in their chosen field – in fact, few countries have such a well established network of community action. 

ERF is an Association and has been created under ‘Loi 1901′, a law that establishes the rights of not-for-profit associations and strictly regulates what they can and they cannot do. Similar to a charity in the UK, profits cannot be taken out of the legal structure and if it is dissolved, all monies are passed to another Association Loi 1901 with similar aims. As an association with a low turnover, ERF are not subject to tax but do pay TVA (VAT) on all transactions.

All Associations are managed by a Bureau consisting of President, Treasurer and Secretary – these positions are voluntary and receive no remuneration. The Bureau is supported by a Conseil d’Administration and the members of the bureau are annually elected at the AGM from the Conseil d’Administration. All members can stand for election onto the Conseil d’Administration at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and all members are eligible (and encouraged!) to vote at the AGM.

To establish an Association, the first step is to draw up Statuts and it is these that form the legal framework within which the Association will be managed. These cover areas such as aims, details about membership and the Association management plus what will happen in the case of dissolution. In the case of a legal debate, the statuts are used to define the rules of the Association and are therefore central to everything the Association does – the only way they can be amended is through a members’ vote at the AGM or an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). The Statuts are lodged at the local Préfecture along with other important details and available for public scrutiny.

As a not-for-profit organisation, ERF have to convince the tax office that we do not carry out any commercial activity, nor does anyone on the management council benefit in any way from the activity of the association (although costs can be reclaimed to levels set by the Government). France is renowned for it’s bureaucracy and it will come as no surprise that setting up an Association and employing staff even part time triggers an avalanche of paperwork for the volunteer management team. So spare a thought for us when it may look quiet – we will be buried in tax forms and questionnaires which help to safeguard the money donated by our members and supporters!

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