Category Archives: news

Our New Rescue – A Joyful Eager Child

Meet our Most Recent Rescue

This poor young pony was cruelly abandoned in a field in North Yorkshire and left to fend for himself in feeezing cold conditions in the beginning of February.

He’s only a baby aged between 6-8 months old!

He is extremely underweight with a condition score of just 1 out of 5 and his hair really hides just how skeletal he really is – everyone who meets him is shocked and saddened at the horrific state he’s in.

He was discovered with a very thick layer of dried-on filth which shows that, wherever he has been kept before being dumped like a piece of rubbish, must have been a bleak and very disgusting place for any animal to live.

‘Fagan’ as he is named ( which means ‘Joyful’ in English and in Irish means ‘Eager Child’, which both describe him perfectly) has now been vet-checked and is full of energy, despite his ordeal.

Slowly we will gain his trust. We will give him a much needed clip and tidy up and his future will be full of love, care and appreciation for the gorgeous boy he is.

He’s still in isolation at the moment, so that we can limit the risk of disease transmission as much as possible, which means he’s not available to visit directly right now, but we hope he will be soon.

It’s only thanks to our absolutely dedicated and wonderful supporters, staff and volunteers that we were able to admit Fagan after nobody responded to the Abandonment Notice that was put on the gate of the field where he was so cruelly dumped.

We just absolutely dread to think of any other animals such as Fagan who are hidden in the dark, behind closed doors and in the most dire conditions. As the saying goes though, we can’t change the world for all animals but for each one we rescue the world changes for that animal.

It’s likely to cost us many hundreds of pounds to rehabilitate him over the next six months. Over his entire rehabilitation this could run into thousands, as it does with any ‘baby’ equine to whom we open our doors. Any donation to this little fella, no matter how small, will be gratefully received.

Welcome Fagan, from the dark into the light.

If you’d like to help Fagan, you can donate and your donation will be used to help rehabilitate and look after him. THANK YOU.

Muffin’s Monthly Musings for January

Sad, sad, sad news this month. Normally I can keep my spirits up, but this month we’ve had to say goodbye to one of my best and oldest (in both senses of the word) friends, Sparky, and I can’t tell you how much I miss him. It’s made me very grumpy. The first day he didn’t come out to my field, I started worrying that ALL my friends might leave me and I’d be completley alone. More grass for me, but who’d protect me from any lions wandering past? Fortunately, my other friends are still here and we’ve settled down again, but we all really miss him.

Sparky was over 30 and was always fit and well for his age and full of beans, so the humans were very worried when he went downhill overnight and losing him was a shock to us all.

I remember when he came to the sanctuary, over 8 years ago. He’d been  a much-loved children’s pony throughout his life, but had to move from home to home, as his children outgrew him. Listening to his story, I knew I’d been right not to let the humans try to ride me. He’d spent his life trying his heart out, behaving well, winning rosettes and trophies, only to end up on the scrap heap once he was ‘old’ and started to develop health problems. He was brought to Hope Pastures when he was found waiting for the meat man at a horse sales. Far from being retired here, he had a special role as a ‘Pony Day Pony’, taking part in grooming sessions on pony days and children’s parties. He adored being petted by so many tiny hands, and covered in ribbons. He was loved by everyone who met hime and he was probably the most popular pony in the whole of Leeds.

He was a very loyal friend and he would become very attached, especially to some of my girls,  whom he would sometimes claim as his own and refuse to share  (something I’m not missing.) Hope was his latest love and he wouldn’t rest until they were side by side. Because of his poor eyesight, though, he had some trouble finding her in my field, often trotting around neighing full volume until finally finding her a few feet from him which always made me chuckle. Sparky was a true gentleman and no-one will ever replace him. We’ll all remember him, though.

Other Horse & Sanctuary News

Little Sago is back with us and he’s now in my field. More worrying about my grass (though the humans are giving us hay in our fields as well as our stables now, so he can stay for a while.) At least it’s nice for Cloud to have someone his own size to nuzzle.

Elsie and Cherish have gone to their new foster home. The humans said they were super-good travelling and now they’re heads-down eating what looks like delicious grass. I do hope my public realise the sacrifices I make for them – if they didn’t need me here, all that grass could be mine!!

Cloud has attended his first event of 2017 – the Leeds Cross Country Varsity. It was a lovely day, though the runners actually claim to prefer ‘conditions’  – mud, we think………..I can see where they’re coming from, being covered in mud really helps keep the biting beasties away, as well as cleanse the skin (and there’s ‘nothing quite like it for cooling the blood’, apparently.)

Danny and Gypsy made it safely to their new home and have settled in brilliantly – they are so lucky to have found an amazing family. They were with us long enough for the humans to make sure they were happy and healthy before moving .

Two new small ponies (possibly even smaller than Cloud! I can’t really tell as they’re over the road – good job too, we don’t need ANY more ponies in my field) have come to stay for a little while with us. I’ve met one of them, Rodney, before and he’s brought his friend Fergus to stay as well.


Like the rest of my friends here, they have been enjoying some time play-fighting in the mud.

The BEST news is last – I have made it to the Final of the UK Blog Awards with these Musings!! I’m not surprised, to be honest, I put a lot of effort into them, but the humans say they’re stunned (thank you humans!!) I can’t wait to go to the presentation evening, as there’s FOOD (and fame!) promised.

No herds of humans to report on this month – I hope some come and plant some yummy saplings in my field VERY soon

Love Muffin xxx

A sad farewell to Sparky

A very sad post today, as we have to let you know that Sparky was put to sleep yesterday after a sudden illness.
Sparky was very fit and well for his age and always full of beans, so him going downhill so fast between tuesday and wednesday was a shock to us all, and quite unexpected.

Despite all the treatment and medication given by our brilliant vets, and special care and and supervision given by our dedicated staff, Sparky still continued to deteriorate and it was decided that the kindest thing was to say goodbye and let Sparky sleep.

Sparky was rescued by us over 8 years ago, with the heartbreaking and horrifying story of being a much loved children’s ridden pony throughout his life, only to be found waiting for the meat man at a horse sales.

Many ponies like Sparky are often sold on again and again because they become outgrown by children, and move from home to home, trying their heart out and behaving so well, winning rosettes and trophies, only to end up on the scrap heap once they develop health problems or become worn and tired.
Sadly for Sparky, he had been a children’s pony into his twenties and once he was outgrown was sold to keep another horse company. The trail then goes cold and we never found out how he ended up stood tied to a lorry at a horse market, dehydrated and very underweight, standing patiently all day with nothing to eat or drink, and resigned to his fate at the end of the day when he would be loaded on to the meat man’s wagon.
Fortunately we were able to negotiate his rescue and he came home on a wagon with us, to his final and true forever home.

We will always feel proud to know he has had the very best twilight years a pony could wish for!
The best food, clean warm stable of his very own lovingly kept immaculate daily by our staff and volunteers. The best and tastiest feed, specially chosen to help him manage to chew with the few teeth he had left.
A wardrobe of designer rugs which any pony would be jealous of, in all the cutest colours and shades.Only the best for a pony who had once been thought of as worthless, he deserved to be treated like a prince.
This was all only achieved with the help of you, our supporters who donate not only funds for vet care, but donate rugs, feed and equipment to enable all of it.

Sparky, far from being retired and no longer used, was given the special role as a ‘Pony Day Pony’ meaning that he took part in grooming sessions on our pony days and children’s parties.
He adored being petted all over by so many tiny hands, covered in ribbons and generally adored by hundreds of children and adults alike over the past 8 years. We could almost describe him as the most popular pony in the whole of Leeds!
He would often doze off in to pony dream land whilst being pampered, maybe daydreaming about his younger days when he was the apple of a little child’s eye and would get so much fuss and love before going to a show or on a ride.

We believe sparky was in his early 30’s and so must have had some stories to tell if he could have spoken.

Sparky was a very loyal friend and once he made a new pony pal he would become very attached, especially to the lady ponies in his paddock who he would claim as his own and refuse to share.
Not every girlfriend he had felt the same, and his most recent true love, Hope, tolerated him very well and we are sure will miss his undivided attention. He would never rest until they were side by side, but because of his poor eyesight he had some trouble finding her in the field, often trotting around neighing full volume until finally finding her, often not even very far from him which always made us chuckle.

Although Sparky has now gained his wings and gone trotting over rainbow bridge to join his old friends, he will be remembered every day of every year by all of the staff, volunteers, visitors, fundraisers and supporters as well as so many children who he made an impression on, he will live on in all our hearts.

Rest in peace Sparky and thank you for making us all so happy.

Muffin’s Monthly Musings for December

So excited – my Monthly Musings have been nominated for the UK Blog Awards 2017! Thank you to everyone who voted. I have all hooves crossed that I make it to the Final…….there’s a Gala dinner (fame AND food!!) so I’ve already organised the humans to spend extra time brushing my coat, just in case. Now I’m such a media star, you’ll note that I’m happy to share my limelight with Coco this month (TBH, I did actually pick this pic because I look particularly handsome in it, but at least I didn’t crop Coco out!) Thanks to Liz Russell Photography for capturing me looking gorgeous.

Horse & Sanctuary News

The biggest news this month should really be Christmas, which was amazing. We’ve had some wonderful pressies – thank you to everyone who sent hay, carrots and salt licks in particular. My faves!! We even had a stable-load of gifts only yesterday from the Medical Records Team at Pinderfields Hospital. I hope this bodes well for 2017….

I know many of you have adopted my friends and me or have been given adoptions for Christmas. That’s such a relief as it means the humans can buy me food – I’m on my best behaviour waiting to meet you all to thank you.

The sanctuary’s been really busy – we even had visitors on Christmas Day. I totally understand you guys couldn’t stay away from me for a whole day (!) and I made sure everyone got up extra-early to be ready to greet you.

The best news, though, is actually that you, our supporters, have saved a whole horse family (a foal, his mum and dad), who were being evicted from their home in Leeds, just before Christmas. So many of you donated that this family is now safe and have a future. You can find out more about them here. I haven’t met them yet and the humans say they’re going to live in a separate field for now (phew – there’s more than enough equines eating my grass here) but I hope to get to meet them next year.

We’ve also had two other new ponies, Danny and Gypsy, come to stay at the sanctuary. They already have a new forever home, but need time to rehabilitate, so the humans have taken them in here and they’ll be going to their new home very shortly. This is just as well, since two Gypsys would be very confusing.

Cloud has been super-busy throughout the whole of December in his role as ‘reinpony. Not only does he have to help Santa out on the night of the 24th, but he has to visit lots of places. His diary is so busy that he’s been training Hope as well and she’s really settled in to the role of elf.

Merlin, Jester and Storm have all gone to new homes. Merlin has found his ‘forever home’ with a new friend and family – the best Christmas present he could have. Jester and Storm are spending time at a foster home, continuing their clicker training. I am tempted by this myself, since this seems to involve food, but obviously I couldn’t desert my duties here.

Polly and Bella have returned from their home as Polly has laminitis and her family don’t have a stable to keep her in to stop her eating grass. You wouldn’t think grass would be a problem at this time of year, but it seems it is, especially when there’s been a frost. I have to say it does taste more yummy when it’s frozen (!)

Snoopy has been on stable rest while his hoof has been treated. He’s been rather bored (we all hate stable rest!) but the humans have been keeping him occupied.

I’m afraid that’s it for now – it’s just a short Musing this month, as I’m now busy preparing for tomorrow. A very Happy New Year to you all – I hope to see you in 2017. Love Muffin xx


Managing Winter Weight Loss for Horses and Ponies with Cushing’s Syndrome

Many of our older ponies at Hope Pastures have Cushing’s Syndrome, including the lovely Gypsy, our pony ambassador. There’s a lot of research work being undertaken on Cushing’s right now and we’re constantly able to improve how we manage it, working closely with our vets, farriers and feed partners to ensure our ponies have the best quality of life. This is especially true at this time of year, since feeding a pony with Cushing’s becomes a balancing act between avoiding winter weight loss and also avoiding laminitis.

Cushing’s Syndrome, or Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) is a condition involving the pituitary gland. In affected horses the ‘pars intermedia’ or ‘middle lobe’ of the pituitary gland becomes hyperactive (and often enlarged), secreting large amounts of several hormones including ACTH (adrenocortitropin hormone). How this increase in hormones results in the clinical signs of Cushing’s is still not fully understood.

Fortunately, although Cushing’s in horses is incurable, it is manageable.  With suitable management and veterinary treatment, horses and ponies with Cushing’s can continue to live happy and active lives for many years.

During the winter, weight loss can be a common issue for any horse but the increased risk of laminitis can make choosing feed for a Cushingoid horse or a pony a daunting prospect. Here a few tips:

  • Body condition score your horse or pony regularly to help monitor any changes and address any weight loss or gain as they occur.
  • Horses and ponies with Cushing’s need similar management to a laminitic. This means providing a diet that is high in fibre and low in starch and sugars, including fructan, the storage form of sugar in grass.
  • Forage should ideally be fed ad-lib and provides a valuable source of calories. However it can also be high in water soluble carbohydrate (WSC = sugar + fructan). Consider feeding soaked hay, a hay replacer or having your forage analysed.
  • Cereals grains are high in starch so avoid mixes and other cereal based feeds.
  • Choose fibre based feeds that if necessary, are also high in oil. Oil is high in energy (calories) but starch free, providing a sympathetic alternative to cereals.
  • Vegetable, corn or soya oil can be added directly to your horse’s feed at a rate of up to 100ml per 100kg of bodyweight per day. However this needs to be balanced by ensuring the diet provides an additional 100iu of vitamin E for every 100mls of oil added – speak to a
  • Be wary of over restricting calories in a bid to avert laminitic episodes. The winter calorie deficit can be counteracted with the provision of additional calories as long as they come from a suitable source.
  • Make any changes to your horse’s diet gradually and if increasing volumes to deliver additional calories, ensure that you don’t over-burden a horse’s sensitive digestive system. Although horses evolved to spend 16-18 hours grazing, they have small stomachs and should not be given more than 2kg of feed in any meal, less for ponies.

Muffin’s Monthly Musings for November

How handsome? No need to answer – it’ll just embarass the donkeys. Good view of my rather smart whiskers, don’t you think? Top marks to the humans for being artistic, though I know you’ll be missing seeing my full glory. One slight concern TBH – I’m not sure whether it was cold when this pic was taken, or if I’m breathing out smoke – half donkey, half pony is great, but half dragon? (Can I even have another half of me that’s a dragon?)

Horse News

dec-mudlily-mudWet, wet, wet start to my Musings this month; equals mud, mud, mud at the sanctuary. This means the humans don’t put us into some of the fields now, but mine is fine – I hope they don’t start to let more of my friends in here, I need all the grass I can get! Lily has been enjoying the chance to improve her skin with her annual Hope Pastures’ mud bath. The humans were very pleased about this.

Anyone noticed how dark it’s become for most of the day now? This happens every year here, when it starts to get wet and really cold as well. I suspect humans don’t like the dark, since they always have a week where some of them explode lots of tiny stars in the sky – very scary, noisy and also rather smelly for us. Fortunately, we’ve trained our humans to always make sure we’re safe in our stables for this.

winter-2016Thankfully, the wet and mud has now turned to cold and bright and we all feel a lot happier. I’ve been growing my Winter coat especially for these days and very good it is, too, might I say. No rugs for me! It does make me extra-fluffy to stroke, though, so you might want to come and warm your hands on me if I’m near the fence when you’re next here.

Much of the news this month is actually DONKEY news! I hope they don’t get too full of themselves.




Coco and Banjo went to the horse hospital, Rainbow Equine, at the start of this moth. Coco had a nasty sarcoid (skin growth) on his leg whicb had to be removed and, very sensibly, he took his best buddy Banjo with him, to hold his hoof. They went in our normal big metal box, but came back in another one, as ours was broken. We’re so grateful to the humans, Annie and Tony, for bringing them home and to MY human, Sue, for going to help – even though they do eat my grass, I missed them a lot.

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Conker and Eeyore have gone to a new home at the Scottish Borders Donkey Sanctuary. I wondered why the humans had been spending so much time playing with them in the big metal box. I’ve known them for six months now and they’re particularly sensitive and nervous. My humans have worked very hard helping them become healthly, happy and confident, but their sensitive natures means they need humans like mine, who know about how to look after donkeys (apparently donkeys really ARE different), so they’ve gone to live with 84 other donkeys, who roam over 85 acres of land in a beautiful location – sounds amazing! If I didn’t have my responsibilities here…….

Other horse news – 9 of my friends are still searching for forever homes. If you’re looking for a new horse or pony, please talk to our humans first – my friends would love to have their own families.

Sanctuary News

Wow, wow, wow, look what arrived this week – a HUGE thank you to Horseware for sending us all these lovely new rugs – they will be fantastic for my friends, some of whom are already looking snug and warm in them. What a very generous donation and sooooo smart – I might try shivering to see if I can get one of these for myself.


The Horseware Boxes!


Sparky & His New Rug


Very Smart Henry


Paddy Modelling






Thank you also to everyone who came to the Charity Auction and the Christmas Sale which our humans organised this month. The two events raised over £2,500 for my Winter feed (a great concern for everyone here.) Many of you also donated to our #GivingTuesday Winter Appeal.This raised a further £1,500 for my fodder………my tummy’s starting to feel a lot happier about Winter now! Thank you.

Pure Feeds have kindly given the sanctuary 240 bags of Christmas horse treats. Apparently they’re not all for us (how disappointing) – the humans are taking them out to horsey events to raise money for more hay for my friends and me. On balance, I guess I that’s sensible – a mule cannot live by treats alone. If you see the humans, make sure you buy your pony a bag, they’re yummy.

No herds of foals this month, but still several herds of fully-grown humans have been coming to continue to make the sanctary look very smart and keep it well-maintained and weatherproof. A big thank you to the (hardy!) teams from Yorkshire Building Society and Lloyds Bank for their help.

It’s ‘that time of the year’ again – the humans are starting to add twinkling stars to trees and in their stables. That usually means Cloud has to go out a lot in the metal box, usually wearing glittery stuff and a pair of antlers. No doubt I’ll be reporting on his adventures in next month’s Musing.

Keep warm (grow a thick coat!) Love Muffin xx


Muffin’s Monthly Musings for October

So, who’s painted the trees to match me? Good job – although you’ve missed my white bits, the general brown-look is great. A conker-coloured mule the humans say – more like mule-coloured conkers, if you ask me.

My pony friends (not the donkeys) and I have been growing our winter coats ready for the cold weather, which we know is on it’s way……..not sure when TBH, since it’s still surprisingly warm in my field and I have to confess to being somewhat over-dressed currently. The humans are all out of rhythm as well, since they’ve started their habit of tucking us up in our stables at night again now it gets dark so early. I suspect they just want me to have my own hay – I always have to share it with my friends if we stay out in my field.

The donkeys, being odd (“we’re designed for hot countries, don’t you know”), only change their coats once a year, in Summer (!) This could be very confusing for me, being half donkey, but I’m a Yorkshiremule through and through, so twice-annual coat changing is normal for me. This is good news for my public in Winter, since it means I’ll be out to see you all when you visit, no matter what the weather.

Horse News


Fantatsic result this month – Revel has found a new home. We’re all so pleased for her. The humans spent some time with her before she left us, going in and out of a large box with her. Then some other humans came and she went away in their large box, pulled by one of the metal things which eat the humans. Fortunately she’s sent us some pics of her at her new home and with her new friend, so we know the large box didn’t eat her!

mmm-oct-8Someone else who’s sent us some pics from their forever home is Little George – this is him foraging for herbs. George came to Hope Pastures about 8 years ago and the humans say he was one of the most challenging and damaged ponies they’ve ever rescued. Luckily for him he found the perfect home, where he lives very much a natural life with a herd of other ponies. His massive area of land has streams, woodland, hills and lakes to wander around, acres of varied terrain and an absolutely beautiful view (as well as lots of goodies to eat – I’m rather jealous, but I have responsibilities here….)

Back at the sanctuary –

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I may have previously mentioned the people from Parkhill Vets who come and look at my friends and me frequently. They swap which of us they want to meet, which is good, since their greeting is often a stab with a sharp stick – not something we equines usually use (a neigh, bray or neighore, with some snorting is fine for us.) This week one of them came and decided to put his whole hand and part of his arm in some of my young friends’ mouths, checking and improving their teeth. This has happened to me, but it’s new to the youngsters, Storm, Jester, Jack and Flint, who were all surprisingly well behaved. They’re young and in training and the humans say making sure their teeth are in good order prevents any problems inn their mouths leading to any behavioural issues, such as being head shy.

The Parkhill Vets’ human was very busy that day – Storm also had his little boy’s operation; Tina, Pearl, Gypsy and Sparky all had their blood taken to check for Cushings (which is something which can affect the ‘older equine’) and Elsie Lenny and Milo had their annual vaccination. Not bad for a mornings work – I hope he went back to rest in his own a lovely warm stable!

Sanctuary News

The herds of humans keep coming – I’m starting to worry they might begin to repair or paint me soon, the sanctuary’s looking so neat and tidy. They’ve really done an amazing job. I’ve noticed there’s a new fenced-off section which looks like it will have a new hedge in it. At the moment it’s over the walkway from me, but I’m pondering how to make the humans move me over there – young tree shoots are sooooo delicious. We had new trees put in as part of a hedge in my field last year, but for some reason, after we’d had a couple of days of nibbling the new plantings, the humans put electric tape round them so we couldn’t reach them. What was the point of that!!??


A Herd of Small Humans on a Pony Day

This week we’ve also had herds of fillies and colts visiting us. Some stay all day and help to look after us, cleaning out our stables (I hope they share the honour of doing mine – it would be unfair if only one person were lucky enough to do it) and brushing us. They seem to have lots of fun and we enjoy meeting them.

Earlier this month the big white flappy things were out again and lots of humans came in their metal boxes to see us. I’m told this was the Autumn Fayre – the sanctuary was certainly busy. More importantly, I’m told this helped to raise over £3,000 to pay for my pony nuts and hay over Winter – my tummy sends lots of thanks for this.


Yummies from Moorlands Harvest Festival

My tummy also wants me to thank the chidren from Moorlands School, who donated apples and carrots for us at their Harvest Festival. Wow….. I suspect I’ll have to share some of those with my friends.

Finally, thanks also to:


My Astley Riding Centre Friends and Their Humans

  • My friends at Astley Riding Centre. Their humans rode and worked in Onsies to raise money for my dinner, and gave us an amazing £1,500 (!) The most amazing thing, though, is how calm my pony friends there were, despite their humans looking VERY odd.
  • Hannah Broderick and her team and all my friends who attended the Hollingley Farm Charity Ride – they raised another £450 for my Winter sustenance.

Riding on the Hollingley Farm Ride

I’m hoping my tummy’s going to be VERY full this Winter!

Love Muffin xx



Rescued & Re-homed

Fab day yesterday meeting Rescued & Re-homed Series Champions, Marnie and Debbie, to present their prizes, sash and rozzies, with Lisa from R & R Country, Rosemary from Sculpture to Wear, Georgina from Global Herbs Ltd and Philip from Paintings with Essence, 3 of our very generous sponsors for 2016. MASSIVE THANKS to them and all our sponsors, including Horseware, Rosettes Direct and Animology.

Thanks also to Rosemary and our other judges – Natalie Duddy from Hutchison, Dunlop & Baird Parkhill Veterinary Surgery, Sophie Kendrick from Hope Pastures, Louise Kittle from Horse&Rider Magazine, Askham Bryan College and Heather Bennett Para Dressage.

Our biggest THANKYOU, though is TO EVERYONE WHO TOOK PART – your stories are all amazing and we’re humbled by what you’ve achieved. Rozzies and prizes will be on their way to all entered finalists shortly xxxx

Thanks to our sponsors: R & R Country, Sculpture to Wear, Global Herbs Ltd, Paintings with Essence, Animology and Rosettes Direct AND thanks to our judges: Rosemary Hetherington, Sophie Kendrickfrom Hope Pastures, Natalie Duddy from Hutchison, Dunlop & Baird Parkhill Veterinary Surgery, Louise Kittle from PONY Mag, Askham Bryan College and Heather Bennett Para Dressage. Without you the Series couldn’t happen.


Amazing teams

Some amazing teams have been busy raising money for Hope Pastures this Summer. Today we received £556.38 from Pets at home Meanwood and £368.38 from Stairfoot Pets at Home, raised as part of the Support Adoption For Pets and Pets at Home #KeepingCool campaign this Summer.
Hannah Broderick and the Hollingley Farm Charity Ride have just sent us £425 raised at the ride earlier this month.
FANTASTIC TIMING teams – just as we come into the really expensive time of year.

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Muffin’s Monthly Musings for September

A very tranquil month here at the sanctuary after such a busy Summer. The herds of foals have been replaced with herds of fully-grown humans, all doing very useful things such as painting our fences, adding new stone in the gateways to stop us getting muddy, clearing weeds and generally making sure the sanctuary is good and tidy (and waterproofed!) ready for Winter.

Horse News

sep-donks-trainingsep-trainingThe normal humans have been able to spend lots of time playing with us (they call it training) which has been great – my donkey friends are particularly keen on this, but they do let the ponies be involved as well. Even I have been known to humour the humans and take part. It’s so pleasing to see how happy that makes them. When we’re not playing with the humans, we all like to watch what they do…. it always pays to keep an eye on them.

sep-revelWe have a new addition to our field – Revel. She’s been with us a few weeks now. I was very worried about her grass-eating capacity (she’s a lot bigger then I am), but she’s being very restrained and the humans are giving us extra haynets, so you’ll be pleased to hear that my tummy’s okay (I’m certainly VERY pleased to know this). The donks were very friendly with her, right from the moment she stepped hoof into the field. They are SO inquisitive!

Little Bronte has finally found a new home, so he went to be with his ‘forever’ family this week. Lots of my friends still need someone to love them, though, so if you’re looking for a pony, please talk to the humans about re-homing one of them – they’re all lovely (and currently eating my grass!!)

Talking of grass, I’ve noticed the evenings are starting to be much cooler, which means the green stuff isn’t growing so quickly. I suspect it won’t be long now till we’re tucked up in our stables at night, instead of outside in our field. I’ll keep you posted on my sleeping arrangements as and when they change – I realise it’s reassuring to know where I am at all times.

The change in weather also means that more ponies and donkeys are ‘at risk’ if their humans aren’t looking after them properly. This is the time of year when we start to have more rescues needing our help, so if you can offer a home to one of my friends now, then that’ll make space for someone who’s in desperate need over Winter.

Enough musing – I must get back to grazing before the grass stops growing completely. Here’s to next month….

Muffin x





Muffin’s Monthly Musings for August (yes, really)

Dear all, just a very, very quick Musing this month to let you all know I’m safe and well, since I know how worrying it is when you don’t hear from me. Unfortunately, when I originally came to pen these Musings, the Hope Pastures website had decided to take a short holiday, so I couldn’t write anything. You have NO idea how frustrating that is for a muser – I had lots of good ideas and stories to tell you and now I can’t remember a thing! I’m assuming this is a result of the ‘creative process’ being halted unexpectedly, although Cloud has kindly suggested this is due to my (now rather advanced) age.

Suffice it to say we’re all well here and enjoying some peace and quiet after a very busy Summer. The big white flappy things have been put away, Coco has his own stable again (without a model horse in it) and there’s fewer visits from herds of foals. I love to see my public, but it’s good to have some ‘chill time’ as well.

Talking of chill, the days are feeling quite Autmnal now – we’re lucky enough to be having glorious sunny days, but the evenings are much cooler. I’ve started growing my Winter coat as a precaution, so when you next visit me I’ll be fluffy again, rather than the smooth, sleek beast you’ve been seeing this Summer.

What do you think of the pic of my donkey friends? Aren’t they all neat! As you can see, I like to join in, but always try to stand slightly out of line, in respect for my pony half.

Aug ShelterThe most exciting news this month is that the big horses now have a shelter in their field. Paddy claimed it as his pretty quickly, as it was a really hot day when it was finally built and it was cooler in there than standing under his normal tree. We donkeys (mostly) have had a shelter in our field for a long time, since donkeys, unlike horses and ponies, aren’t waterproof, so a shelter is essential for us. This new shelter means that the horses can get shade when they really need it and the humans won’t be constantly changing their rugs when the rain stops and starts, saving lots of time and worry. I’m told the new shelter is a result of something called a legacy from Jim Lawton, a volunteer I miss a lot. One of Jim’s favourite horses, Maggie will really benefit from it as she is very elderly, and I know all the big horses are chuffed to bits with it.

They all send a big thank you to Jim.

None of my other ‘news’ is now news, so I’m keeping this Musing brief – here’s to the website staying where it’s meant to in September so I can give you a full Musing next month! Love Muffin xx


Muffin’s Monthly Musings for July

Another month in the manic life of your favourite mule (me, obviously!) You’ll be pleased to note that I’ve managed to take some time out and put together these Musings so you know what’s been going on at the sanctuary. I have to say, I hope you’re as pleased as I am with the more considered and thoughtful look Emma has managed to capture in my photograph this month.

Horse News

Jul Oscar home

Jul Dusty

Last week, Dusty and Oscar went off to their forever homes. Both are very lucky ponies who have really landed on their hooves with adopted families who adore them.

Oscar is unlikely to ever be a ridden pony, due to damage done to his pelvis as a foal, but he’s found a home as a companion to Ollie and he gets along really well with him! Ollie lived alone for a while after his mate passed away, so he’s very pleased to have another pony friend. Oscar was so determined to be a good companion to Ollie that he decided that the electric fence put in while they were introduced wasn’t needed – he broke through and stood next to Ollie, where he has remained ever since!

Dusty has gone to be a pet pony and companion to a horse called Alfie. He was very brave going on his first ever lorry ride! And as you can see, he’s made himself right at home.

This is great news, but Elsie, Revel, Buttercup, Merlin, Rafael, Brontie, Conker, Eeyore, Jester, Flint , Domino, Pearl, Diamond, Daisy , Bernie and Joey are all still looking for their forever homes, so please let the humans know if you have space in your stables (and your heart!) for one of them.

Jul Freddie

Jul OscarReaders of these Musings will know that I like to be out in my field, munching away on my grass and I’m not that bothered about being in a stable. I’m re-considering this, though, as I’ve seen some very interesting thing around the stables recently – hay balls and fruit kebabs look like they need testing by me before anyone else should have them!! I’m not sure WHAT the humans think they’re doing giving them to Freddie and Oscar.



Jul Coco sarcoid 2 Jul Coco sarcoid1Coco has a nasty lump on his leg, called a sarcoid. This is being treated by the humans and one of the vets from the Parkhill Vets herd came out to freeze it. Coco was VERY, VERY brave – I wouldn’t fancy that at all. He said it didn’t really hurt and he was happy to have it done as the lump is annoying and attracts flies. I am secretly rather impressed. I hope I don’t get one of those lumps on my magnificent body – Coco’s looks a right mess just now. The humans are making sure it’s kept as clean as possible, though, to avoid infection.

Jul Donks & M


Talking of Coco, I thought I’d add this pic to show how well we donks are getting on. Coco‘s out of sight here, but Conker, Eeyore, Banjo and I (or at least my donkey half) are having a great time together. We’re such good friends I’m even letting them eat my grass without complaining too much.

Cloud at Leeds RhinosJul Cloud roll


Cloud has been out on lots of visits this month, with trips to school fairs, Pets at Home and even to Leeds Rhino’s Family Day – I think you can guess who he supports. He likes to chill out when he gets home by flattening my dinner.




Jul Bernie siJul si2 Jul si

Gypsy, Freddie, Bernie, Joey and Elsie all suffer from something called Sweet-Itch. This means they’re very sensitive to midge bites and if they get bitten they can sometimes scratch all their hair, mane and tail off.

A company called Aromesse have given the humans treatments of Aroma-Pre-itch and Aromaitch for them and they have herbal treatment from Global Herbs. If anyone would like to help these guys with a donation for this, please let the humans know.

Bernie is particularly nervous after having a traumatic start in life. The humans aren’t sure what happened to make him so afraid, but even standing close to him makes him very anxious. This makes getting treatment on him very challenging, sothe humans have worked out a special treatment plan for his Sweet-Itch, using lots of strategies to try to limit his itchiness and soreness:

  • Firstly, he and his friend Joey are stabled at dawn and dusk, when midges are most prevalent.
  • They’re fed Global Herbs Skratch supplement to help them from the inside.
  • The humans apply the Aromesse Sweet-Itch products on to the areas that Bernie will allow them to daily.
  • They’re clicker training Bernie to let them touch him and bit by bit they’re gaining his trust.

Sanctuary News


Bessie on arrival at Hope Pastures

REC Bobby & Bessie

Bobby and Bessie at Richmond Equestrian Centre

You all voted Bessie as the Top Equine Rescue in a recent national competition, run by Horsemart. She got 64% of the votes (more than double any other rescue!) Even I’m proud of her achievement.

As well as recognition for how far she’s come, she’s won rugs and goodies for me and my friends.



Jul Dog Show

Literally hundreds of dogs at the Dog Show

Two weeks ago I knew something was up, as I and all my friends were moved to the (small and relatively grass-free) field on the other side of the walkway. How right I was. The humans then proceeded to fill MY field, and the one next to us, with big flapping things, then they let herds of other humans in, as well as an un-countable number of dogs. My, oh my, the sanctuary was busy. It was fun as well, though, as we got lots of strokes – I was busy all day spreading my attention around all my adoring humans. Our normal humans say this raised over £5,100 – that’s amazing, it’ll buy me an awful lot of pony nuts and hay!

Summer 15 Red

Coco’s Stable – I hope he doesn’t need it!

Summer 15 Activities Tent

The Humans’ Summer feeding and activities area (!)

The big white flapping thing is back in the hard area where the humans usually leave their metal boxes and when I went to check on my stable last, I noticed Coco’s stable has a big red horse in it again. I suspect this means we’ll have herds of humans visiting us again over the next few weeks. Not to worry – I’ll make sure I’m available for them to see.

It looks like next month’s Musing could be quite exciting! Love Muffin xx




2016 Hope Pastures Dog Show

What a day we had on Sunday – a really brilliant and busy Fun Dog Show!! Many, many thanks to all who brought their ‘best friends’ – it was fantastic to see so many wonderful dogs. The weather was amazing and the team put on a really good variety of activities and games, as well as a fabulous array of food, cakes and refreshments in ‘Muffin’s Munch’ and beer, Pimms and live music in the ‘courtyard’.

A massive thank you to all who sponsored the event, volunteered, baked and attended – you made it a fantastic day. We’re just adding up the money taken and will be able to let you know this evening how much money you’ve helped to raise.

Thank you to our sponsors for making this possible:
David Wilson Homes, overall show sponsors
Hutchison, Dunlop & Baird Parkhill Veterinary Surgery – main ring and Best Veteran
The Barking Lot – main ring and Best Rescue
– The Tailwaggers Training Club – main ring
– Danish Design – main ring
PetSafeUK – prizes for all rings
Dave Grayson and DC Jointing – agility ring
Tower Wood Vets – agility ring prizes and Prettiest Bitch
Barking 4 Balls – flyball ring
Linzi’s Hair Studio – Cutest Puppy
Paintings with Essence – Appealing Eyes
Cranberries Deli in Adel – Waggiest Tail
Freyaleigh Kennels and Canine Dog Weight Loss Centre – Handsome Dog
Takin The Pizza – Dog Judge Take Home
Di Hayes and Asher – Scruffs
Pooh Pickers – Pet Waste Management – Crufts
Pacsafe Ltd – Best in Show
Greg Mulholland – for popping in and taking the pics shown (we’ll have our own shortly, but we wanted to thank everyone as soon as possible!)

We were busy adding up all day yesterday, all because you helped raise an AMAZING £5,100 at the Dog Show on Sunday. Thank you so much!!! We hope you had a fantastic time, it certainly looked like everyone was enjoying themselves and our wonderful photographers took some fab pics of your gorgeous dogs – check out to see if your dog’s there. If you didn’t come, there’s also some special pics of some of our residents, so you may find your favourite enjoying the day as well.

Many thanks to Amber and Bekah for immortalising the attendees and to Sarah for capturing the Best In Show class and the lovely, happy couple who sum up the day for show 1 dog show 2 dog show 3 dog show 4

Job Vacancy at Hope Pastures

That’s right, we have a job vacancy up for grabs here at Hope Pastures.  We are looking for a part time Assistant yard manager and volunteer coordinator Do you think that you are the right person for the job?

Find out more at

Shortly we will also be looking for someone to fill a full time fixed term contract working on our yard to cover maternity leave starting in October (TBC)

Interested? Send us an email and let us know: