Archive for the ‘Rescues’ Category

Yesterday we took our lovely Vinnie to his new home in the Correze where he will now live with new adopters Helga & Paul….and of course Lulu the donkey. Helga had arranged to privately purchase Lulu from her previous owners due to their circumstances changing. Since she was local, we collected her so that Vinnie could have a companion immediately.
We currently have other donkeys looking for homes at the moment so please get in touch with us if you would like more info on becoming a donkey adopter.

As with all donkeys, Vinnie needed a little persuation to load!

A short while later and he's in!!

Off we head with Vinnie to his new home...

We're here Vinnie!

We then went and collected Vinnies new friend Lulu...who needed a bit more encouragement than Vinnie to disembark!

A meeting of 2 donkeys.......

Vinnie is soon playing follow-my-leader with Lulu, his very own friend at last

A wonderful happy ending for 2 very lucky donkeys


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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.

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Very thin and dirty

Whilst monitoring the French ‘rescue’ forums over here, we saw to our dismay a racehorse from the UK, Corran Ard, at risk of going for meat.
On checking his details on the Racing Post site, we discovered that his last run on the 26th of March this year, was less than a month before his arrival on the site on the 20th of April.

His most recent trainer, Tim Vaughan, was promptly contacted and a series of emails ensued between us and the trainer’s assistant Mark Gichero, who assured us he was doing what he could to find out why the horse had ended up there.

Suddenly, on the 27th of April, the horse was taken off the site as no longer available. We then received an email from Mark Gichero saying that he had been in touch with his contacts in France who had assured him the horse would be found a home via them.

In the interim, after doing more research, we found other UK ex racers on that site from the same region of the UK. We alerted the BHA to the fact, and they have passed the details to their investigations team.

Imagine then, our surprise and horror when the horse reappeared on the website on the 15th of June, now at a lower price and in imminent danger of going to the abattoir.

We decided there was no time to waste. To ensure that the horse was given every chance of a future, but also very much to highlight the fact that this cross channel trade in unwanted UK horses and ponies to French dealing/meat yards is happening, we contacted the newspapers in the UK.

They in turn contacted Mark Gichero, who was understandably horrified that the horse had resurfaced back in the same place. After some discussion, Mark asked us how he could help to get the horse out of there, and generously funded his purchase price and transport costs. Corran Ard was collected on Monday 28th of June by ERF and now has his future secured with us.

He is a beautiful, sensitive horse who was obviously shell-shocked at the immediate change in his circumstances. Going from 5* treatment in a racing yard to being on the meat trail must have been bewildering and terrifying for him.

He will take some careful rehabilitation, he has been neglected to the extent that he was still wearing his racing plates when we collected him, over three months after his last race. Luckily, the attention being lavished on him was quickly accepted as his due, and the spark is back in his eye. The physical recovery will sadly take much longer.

You can read the Newspaper story in Wales Online.

We’ll update his progress in a couple of days. But just for the moment, here he is after a bath having a pick of grass.

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We thought Nanette deserved a post all of her own as the transformation in her from the neglected little donkey we rescued in June 2008, is nothing short of inspirational! Those of you who remember Nanette will also remember the dreadful state her feet were in, they had been neglected for many years.

X-ray of Nanettes foot on arrival

After x-rays were taken of her feet to assess whether she has any pedal bone rotation, the arduous task  began of trying to get her feet back into a decent state again. We thought that it was important to show you just what can be acheived with these rescued equines with time and care.

These were her feet on arriving with ERF….

Nanette Front feet

Nanette hind feet

And now…..

Nanette front feet

Nanette hind feet

We would like to thank Nanettes wonderful adoptive mum Caroline who has given this very special donkey so much time, patience and love since she has been with her….and also credit must go to her wonderful farrier!

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Sometimes we are asked to take on and rehome equines, that often for health reasons or their age, are too vunerable to be advertised for sale by the owners. Belle is one of those ponies who had some physical difficulties, probably as the result of being used as a broodmare in the past, and could therefore only be used as a companion in the future.

We are fortunate to have some excellent people approach us to be future adopters, people that are prepared to take on equines that most others would turn their backs on. We are now extremly pleased to say that Belle has settled in well as companion to new adopter Vicki’s horse Whiz and we wish them all the very best for a happy future together.

Belle (left) with her new friend

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Last week ERF’s young male donkey, Vinnie, was successfully castrated. This is the first time that we have had an equine castrated lying down over here, normally they are left standing. Everything went smoothly and Vinnie was soon up on his feet and is now healing up nicely.

Vinnie with John Dobson

If you are interested in becoming Vinnie’s guardian then please contact us at ERF. Vinnie’s new home would need to have other equine company, preferably other donkeys.

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This gorgeous 9 month old male donkey,Vinnie, will be available for adoption following his castration this month. He will need a guardian who has the experience to educate him as he grows up, but he is very sweet natured and has been handled since birth.

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