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Archive for December, 2009

Regardless of their actual birth date,the official administrative birthday for horses is tomorrow, January 1st. This date originally came about to make it easier to define age groups in racing  for Thoroughbred horses. Nowadays, January 1st is marked as the horses official birthday in most Northern Hemisphere countries including France (in the Southern Hemisphere it is 1st August).

Foals of most (but not all) breeds of horse born here in France are traditionally named starting with a different sequential letter each year. The letter for 2010 is ‘A‘, so if you have foals due this year you may want to take a look here at some horses names beginning with A for some inspiration!

Have you remembered to get your new calendar or diary for the coming year? If not, then please take a look at the calendar section on our Amazon Store where we have added lots of beautiful calendars and diaries.

Our last blog post of 2009 and we’d like to wish everyone a very

Happy New Year!

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Christmas is upon us once again and another year has nearly passed. 2009 has been a busy and productive year for all of us here at ERF. Many welfare cases have been investigated and thankfully many resolved. We have rehomed numerous horses, ponies and donkeys into the most wonderful forever homes and would like to take this opportunity to thank all these Guardians for opening up their homes and hearts to these very special animals.

Here’s hoping that 2010 will be a year for improvements to animal welfare all over the world, but in particular for us, we hope that equine welfare standards and education in France will be raised to an acceptable level.

Please keep up your much valued support for ERF, we need as many voices as possible joining us to

‘give equines in France a second chance!’

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Kind hearted horse owner Naomi gave us a wonderful Christmas present this week when she came up with the generous idea of donating the money she would usually spend on sending Christmas cards to ERF. We are immensely grateful to Naomi who has always offered such wonderful support to our association in the past.

From all of us and the horses..Thank You!

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Our 2 beautiful Trotters have now been with us for 2 weeks, and what a change we have seen in them already. Today they came in for a groom (which they adore!) a trim up and probably their first ever taste of being rugged up. The weather is set to turn bitterly cold this next week and as we are trying to keep weight on the girls we thought they’d benefit from being rugged up. They are moving so much better on their feet now and seeing them play about in the field together like a couple of youngsters is truly heartwarming. These girls have such wonderful kind temperaments and are sure to make whoever adopts them extremely happy.

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An injured donkey abandoned near to the Dead Sea in Jordan has been rescued by British  charity SPANA after a plea for help was made on its Facebook page. The donkey was spotted by a member of the public on November 25, who then contacted SPANA through it’s Facebook page.

SPANA’s headquarters in London immediately alerted its office in Amman, Jordan and a team headed off to look for the donkey, although with fairly sketchy details about its location. Amazingly, 3 days later this lucky 14 yr old donkey was found by them and taken back to the safety of it’s Jordan Valley refuge.

The internet and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace really have opened up new channels in which charities and animal welfare groups can communicate with the general public to  spread news and alerts.

If you are on Facebook please come and join our ERF Page, Tweet us on Twitter or add us as a friend on Myspace!

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Equine ATYPICAL MYOPATHY (Myopathie Atypique in French) is a frequently fatal condition affecting grazing horses in autumn and/or spring. The clinical signs of this myopathy seem to appear after typical climatic conditions with global warming also being blamed for the increase in cases recently.

At the beginning of December there were 300 reported cases in Europe, over 80 of these being within France and 27 in the UK.

Clinical signs of Atypical Myopathy (in order of frequency):

– Weakness
– Horse found laying on the grass (or dead)
– Difficulty to get up
– Dark coloured urine
– Stiffness
– Red or purple mucus membranes
– Depressed
– Muscle tremors
– Difficulty to stay standing
– Difficulty or inability to walk
– Increased heart rate
– Difficulty to breath
– Sweating
– Hypothermia
– Colic
– Horse that still wants to eat

Horses most at risk are young horses less than 3 years old (especially horses of 18 months) and older horses. Horses in poor bodily condition,unvaccinated and unwormed horses, and horses not in work are also more at risk.

There is an excellent website here on Atypical Myopathy (which is written in French and English), that also gives some preventative advice.

Read a recent French article on the disease here

British Equine Veterinary Association  alert

News report by Rossdales & Partners Vets

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ERF were contacted by the DDSV in dept. 86 to intervene in a sad welfare case where the owner of 2 horses had been taken into hospital, terminally ill. The horses, 2 lovely French Trotter mares, had received very little care for many years. The evidence of this was shockingly revealed to us when a representative for ERF initially went to visit the horses last Monday. She found the mares wading around in a yard of stinking mud and manure with horrendously overgrown feet, looking very sorrowful.

10 yr old Lily's hooves

16 yr old Marcy's hooves

When we went to collect the girls last Thursday we were greeted by 2 very timid mares who were wary of having any human contact, understandable seeing as they hadn’t had any for such a long time….that was heartbreaking to see. Once we managed to catch them, we had to walk them out of the manure filled yard they knew as home, into the trailer, it was obviously very painful for them having to manouvere on a hard surface but they both behaved so well. They then came back to our  Charente yard where the mares, now named Lily and Marcy, could settle down and relax in a warm straw bed.

This past weekend the farrier visited to cut back many years of neglect to their extremly overgrown feet. He too was very shocked at how long their feet were and also at the layers of caked on manure he had scrape off of the hoof wall. They were so patient and obliging, almost knowing that what we were doing for them was for their own good. To see them with trimmed feet afterwards was a big releif and we were soon able to turn them out onto some grass, something they hadn’t done for a very long time. Seeing them able to trot and canter around a field once more was very emotional for us, it’s what makes our sometimes very difficult and tiring job all the more worthwhile.

How tragic that these horses, who had once been cared for and had a trotting career behind them, had been left for so long without even the basic of care given. The road to recovery has now started for Lily and Marcy, but we will have to spend out many more euros on them in future farrier visits, vaccinations,worming, also Marcy needs a large hanging sarcoid removed from her chest…this is without taking into account hay and feed for the winter. The mares will never now be parted and will eventually be rehomed with an adoptive family.

If you can, please help by donating a few euros towards the care of Lily, Marcy, Mimi or Leon..all of who are cared for by ERF’s team voluntarily.

Watch their video here….


Lily and Marcy, French trotter welfare cases

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