We left early last Monday to go and collect Corran Ard with a fair degree of trepidation. We had no idea what we were going to find, and the cloak and dagger atmosphere surrounding the location of the farm made us wary.
We had to telephone a number when we arrived at the nearest town to the farm, and someone came to guide us there. In the surrounding fields were heavy cob type mares, many with foals at foot. There seemed to be a lot of animals for such a ramshackle set up, and you have to wonder as to what their future would hold.
Whilst polite, this was all about business. The passport was handed over, the headcollar taken down, the horse brought out of the barn and the cheque changed hands. At this point the atmosphere mellowed and we chatted as they led the horse to us and gave us charge of him.
My first impressions were of a sad depressed horse with no hope in his eye,
and no interest in those around him. He wanted no contact, or attention, he turned his head away as I tried to communicate with him. He seemed as if he wanted to run away, but didn’t know where to go. He’d totally switched off from people.
I put a tail bandage on him for the trip, and when I went back to his head, he turned to put his nose gently against me, as if to recognise an act that he remembered from when life was OK for him.
He was caked with muck and stale bedding, so the priority was to wash him and have him feel better. It took two sets of lathering to run the water clear, and as we did it, again there was the recognition of something he was familiar with, and his trust and confidence grew unbelievably in such a short space of time. It was heartbreaking to see how obviously he had missed the kindness of a human touch.
He’s a few nicks and sores, and is very thin, but nothing that won’t fix. He’s alert and pricking his ears forward when he sees me now. Watching him relax, as the realisation dawned that he was safe and comfortable, was humbling.
What trust these horses put in us, and how often it is horribly betrayed.