By the edge of the woods, at the foot of a hill, is a lush green meadow where time stands still. Where the friends of men and women do run, when their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next, is a place where beloved creatures find rest. On this golden land, they wait and they play, ’til the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness, for here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness. Their limbs are restored, their health renewed. Their bodies have healed with strength imbued.
They trot through the grass without even a care, ’til one day they whinny and sniff at the air. All ears prick forward, eyes sharp and alert. Then all of a sudden one breaks from the herd.
For just at that second there’s no room for remorse. As they see each other… one person… one horse. So they run to each other, these friends from long past. The time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart, has turned to joy once more in each heart. They nuzzle with love that will last forever. And then side-by-side, they cross over, together. †
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.
2013 – 21st July 2015
We sadly lost Brandy shortly after her arrival, she came to us with behavioural problems and was very difficult to handle, after noticing a physical abnormality and following blood tests we found that the reason for her behaviour was severe cysts in her ovaries causing a hormone imbalance which our vets felt were inoperable and the chances of long term success were very limited, unfortunately the kindest thing to do was to have her put to sleep. We are glad she had a final few weeks playing out and interacting with the other ponies around the yard.
Rest in peace Brandy x
1975 – 10th April 2015
It’s with a heavy heart that we bring the sad news of the loss of Trigger, our very oldest resident.
Trigger was approximately 40 years old had a really happy 9 years of retirement with us after working hard for the previous 28 years in a local Riding School.
Trigger had been abandoned in the fields of the riding school, called Model farm, as a 12 week old tiny foal. The kind people from the school, mainly the owner, Joyce, took Trigger in and raised him and he spent many years in his home there.
Sadly when Joyce died, many of the horses were left homeless including Trigger and his horse ‘wife’ Shazeke. When it was looking likely that the old couple would be put to sleep, we stepped in and offered them a secure retirement.
Many fortunate children learned to ride on Trigger as he was so gentle and well behaved. He also took part in Riding for the Disabled lessons, so the joy that he gave to children and adults is immeasurable. He truly changed so many peoples lives and there are hundreds of people who will have fond memories of the old fellow.
Trigger was a real character and would push past anything to get to a bucket of feed. He would stand for hours to be groomed and pampered, he loved cuddles and was a favourite among the staff, volunteers and visitors.
Sadly for Trigger although he was still in good health, his hind legs had such severe arthritic changes that over the past few years he had began to struggle with his balance and stability.
He was a tough old man though and seemed determined to keep going, many a summer we had said it would be his last, but as Trigger had other ideas he just kept trooping on.
We managed his arthritis with various herbal supplements, anti-inflammatories from our Vets, magnetic therapy and more recently laser therapy and Mctimoney treatment. We really think we managed to keep him very comfortable in the last few years as he never appeared to be in pain.
But over his last week or so Trigger began to sway and slip on his hind legs. He had taken 3 falls in the field since Christmas and in early April his legs gave way in his stable, causing him a lot of upset as he could not get to his feet. We hoped that this would be a one off, however then he was even more unsteady on his legs and was seen to almost collapse again a week later.
We had been in regular contact with out Vet and Trigger was being kept an eye on but on this occasion we were given no choice than to say goodbye to him before he fell again and caused himself some real harm and pain. To watch him walk it was a miracle he remained strong as long as he did, but to anyone experienced with horses it was clear that he was near total collapse.
He is very sadly missed, the place is not the same without him. But we can take comfort that he is now galloping over Rainbow Bridge to greet Shazeke.
Rest in peace old man and enjoy your new legs.
1985 – 28th March 2015
Bronte had been showing signs of her old age for over a month and although we tried different things recommended by our Vet which worked for a while, she lost a lot of weight and her health over the past week has been a great worry to us. At almost 30 years old Bronte was not a spring chicken anymore and over the past 2 days it transpired that her Liver had stopped functioning, most likely to her past neglect from years back. Just the day before Bronte was still enjoying time in the field with her best pal Paddy, and we are comforted knowing that Bronte had such a happy retirement with us and was loved, cared for and cherished in her twilight years. If only all elderly horses and ponies had the same safety. Bronte had been passed from pillar to post throughout her long life and judging by her moods had lots of bad experiences with people. It actually took us years to gain Bronte’s trust and even then you had to have your wits about you when dealing with her as she would never think twice about letting you know when she was annoyed! This kind of cantankerous behaviour made Bronte who she was and we loved her all the more for it. It made it even more special when she chose to show her affection towards those who cared for her on a daily basis, who she grew to trust.
Rest in Peace old lady x
We lost our pony Flossie on January 12th after a short illness which didn’t respond to treatment. We are all still in shock as Flossie was the toughest pony ever and we tried everything to make her well again.
Flossie has been a favourite here with staff and visitors, especially the children on Pony Days who learned how to groom and pamper a pony properly by practising on Flossie. She would be as gentle as a lamb with children but if staff or volunteers entered her field without her permission, it was like entering a lions den and she would chase and kick until the poor human victim had leapt over a fence or given Flossie all of the hay they had in their wheelbarrow. Flossie had a fiery spirit which just made everyone love her even more.
Rest in peace Flossie, you will be missed xx
1991 – November 2014
November 13th was a very sad day at Hope Pastures as we had to say goodbye to old Timmy, our mascot pony. In recent months his Arthritis had become gradually worse and despite trying very many treatments and pain relief options, poor Timmy was constantly in discomfort and unable to lead a happy pony life. Timmy was a little legend, visiting nursing homes as a therapy pony and attending fundraising events and outings. He had a better social life than many of us here! Timmy was so gentle with children and even the smallest little hands were able to groom and cuddle Timmy in safety. There will never quite be another pony like him and he will be greatly missed.
Rest in peace Tiny Tim xxx
1977 – October 2014
Sadly we lost one of our oldest residents, Mr.Pickwick.
He had a sudden attack of Colic and, despite our vets trying everything to help him through it, we had to make the sad decision to let him go to pony heaven.
Although Mr.P was 37 years old he always remained in good health apart from being diagnosed with Cushing’s disease which was easily managed with medication. The day before he became ill Mr.P was full of beans and feeling like quite a young man again after a young pony called Daisy was put In his field, so finding him with Colic was unexpected and losing him that same day was so sad as we truly thought we could get him through it.
We are happy knowing that Mr.P was so well loved and had the best of care, and hope he has joined his old ‘wife’ Jasmine over Rainbow bridge.
Rest in Peace Mr.Pickwick xx
Pipkin was a young and playful Shetland pony who unfortunately had to be put to sleep in his loan home after an accident in the field where he broke his leg. He had a lovely life with his pony friends Arthur, Folly, Tizer & Princess. He will be missed by us all especially his ‘mum’ Sue who loved him dearly.
RIP Pipkin x
2014 January 2014
Sadly Flaxen had to be put to sleep on the 18th of January after suffering with incurable liver damage due to ragwort poisoning. It is such a waste of a horse’s life, and made so much worse because it was entirely preventable. If he had lived in a Ragwort free field before coming to Hope Pastures he would still be here today, following his best friend Ellie around the field.
We hope that Flaxen’s death won’t be in vain and are looking at ways of educating people on the dangers of Ragwort.
Rest in Peace Flaxen, you will be missed by us all xx
Sadly we lost our elderly pony Jasper on December 15th 2013. He had become unwell during the week before and we hoped he could be fixed but it was not to be..He will be missed by everyone especially his best friend Sparky, who was neighing away in the field for his friend. We can take comfort in knowing that Jasper was very well loved and cared for, he had the best of everything and all the care that an old boy needed. We are so sorry to all of his sponsors, we couldn’t foresee him leaving us so soon although he hadn’t been in the best health for the last few years he seemed to always bounce back, but not this time.
R.I.P Jasper Carrot xx
It is with sadness that we bring the news we lost our elderly horse, Shaz (Shazeke) to Colic. Shaz had worked hard all of her life giving rides to disadvantaged children in a riding school before taking her well earned retirement here at Hope Pastures along with her ‘Horse husband’ Trigger. The pair had been partners for over 25 years and Trigger is missing his Shaz being around. They have been well loved and cared for here and we are pleased to have had the opportunity to have known Shaz. She was a beautiful horse who could be spirited and it will not be the same here without her.
RIP old girl xxx
2012 – July 2013
We are so sad to say that we lost our young pony, Dylan’s death was sudden and unexpected. He was a seemingly fit and healthy young pony who we rescued in a terrible state as a foal in late 2012. Dylan turned into a beautiful cob and was so sweet natured and well behaved. lots of people helped him to get back on his hooves including his foster family mum Laila and his most recent foster home with Andrea.,as well as all of the love and TLC her received whilst rehabilitating at HP, he stole everyone’s hearts here and we are all so shocked and sad.
Rest in peace little Dylan xx
It was with sadness that Holly had to be put to sleep following an unexpected injury to her knee that the vet could not remedy. She is sadly missed.
Rest in peace Holly x
Sadly Taisy has lost her fight for life, she was not with us long but touched a lot of hearts. We are happy to of helped her in her final days.
RIP Taisy xx
1980 – October 2012
It was with sad regret that we had to let Molly go as she was struggling to cope with her arthritis and blindness. Molly was a real character and even when she became ill she never lost her spirit, she was close friends with Bronte who became her eyes even though Bronte can be a bully, she took Molly under her wing and looked out for her.
When Molly arrived at Hope Pastures she had been passed from home to home and was emaciated and full of worms. It took a careful feeding regime and lots of TLC to help Molly to gain weight and she has had two lovely well earned summers of retirement with us.
As we investigated Molly’s history it was found that she had been loaned out as a companion and her owner still believed her to be safe and well when in fact she had been sold several times, ending up with horse dealers and inexperienced owners. She is very lucky that she was noticed for sale in very poor condition and we were alerted to her plight.
Everyone at Hope Pastures was very fond of Molly and she will be especially missed being seen cantering down the hill with her tongue hanging out and banging on her stable door constantly to ask for more food! 1980-2012 RIP xx
We are very sad to announce that Jamie, the new little Shetland was put to sleep due to a suspected tumour or twisted gut. He was breathing rapidly and started showing colic like symptoms. There was little that could be done and it was the kindest thing to do. He pulled through his dental surgery so well and was a brave little man. Although only here for a short while Jamie will be missed by all the staff who were so pleased to see him enjoying life in the paddock, trotting and cantering about, meeting other ponies and getting lots of fuss.
We are sad to bring the news that Lady has lost her fight with illness and has been put to rest.
She had not been right for some time and the vets did a lot of investigating to look into the reasons why, looking at her teeth, trying different feeds and having blood tests to check for internal problems, nothing could be found but the vets suspected a neurological problem as well as her arthritis giving her lost of trouble.The recent bad weather was a real struggle for Lady and she needed to be kept warm with nice thick coats and plenty of good food. Right up until her final day with us she still enjoyed a carrot and a ginger biscuit.
The day before we lost Lady some people visited her from her past who came to say goodbye, they told us that Lady was almost 30 years old which is older than we originally thought. Lady was a truly gentle pony and although she was a troubled soul she soon settled with us and she was well loved and cared for.
She will be missed very much,but will be with her old friend Zak now at peace together at last.
We are sad to announce Bridie had to be put to sleep in her loan home. She was a very sweet old mare who had lived with her elderly owner for many years before coming to us, she wasn’t with us for long before she found a lovely retirement home keeping two old Geldings company and we are very pleased she got to enjoy her final years with her loving loan family.
RIP Bridie xx
Sadly we have lost our old pony Prince due to severe Arthritis. He was a very special pony who was always there for a chat and a cuddle and he had so many friends, her will be missed by many people , RIP old man xx
We are sorry to announce that little Thelwell was put to sleep due to ongoing health problems and liver failure, he is missed by all the staff and volunteers and his best buddy Jasper, who stayed by his side and took care of him at all times. Rest in peace Thelwell xx
We lost our dear old horse Zak after many months of struggling to help him cope with his arthritis.
Zak was put to sleep and went very quietly surrounded by people who loved him, and having spent the day in the sunshine with Lady and his other friends. Zak will be so sadly missed and the sanctuary already seems so empty without him, he was a great character and will not be forgotten. Rest in Peace Zak x
Willow was put to sleep quite unexpectedly due to a severe Colic and she is very much missed by everyone who knew her. Willow was generally a healthy horse but had a mild colic, and the vet thinks that she may have had some kind of a tumour which caused part of her gut to begin to die.
Willow was the first horse rescued under the new board of trustees at Hope Pastures and we quickly became very fond of her, she was so sad and thin on arrival but after lots of good feed and TLC she soon got her spirit back and became very proud and highly strung. She looked beautiful galloping to the field with her head held high and her tail up in the air, it is a sight we will miss and how we will always remember her.
Willows friends also miss her and now walk quietly down for their tea without Willow to lead the way, as she always galloped ahead. We are privileged to have known Willow and she will never be forgotten.
We hope that Willow galloped over Rainbow Bridge and is now prancing around free from pain with her old companions xx
Sadly Toddy was put to sleep after being injured whilst in his new home, it was a tragic accident and an awful shock for the lady who had given him the perfect home. Toddy was enjoying being ridden regularly and was happy grazing with his new girlfriend Goldie. His new owner spent lots of time and effort helping him overcome his problems with catching and he could be easily caught even by children. Toddy will be very missed by many people, lots of local children had learned to ride on Toddy in his younger days. He will be remembered for his cheeky personality and his naughty way of evading capture, we are so pleased that his final home was so lovely and he was very happy there.
George was a very handsome Shire horse who was only with us for a couple of months , but who left a lasting impression on everyone due to his kind and gentle nature.
George had been found emaciated and with badly infected legs , which took a lot of cleaning and antibiotics to treat . He also had a badly rotated pelvis and so due to his size, he struggled to control his back legs properly. Eventually he was struggling too much and we had to say goodbye to him to prevent any further suffering.
George was a pleasure to have around and everyone grew to love him, in his last weeks he was spoilt with lots of treats , feed and carrots which is the least we could give him . He always greeted us with his head up and a little noise to ask for carrots please.
We will miss George and the place already seems a little bit empty without him , we hope he will rest in peace and no longer be in pain.
We said goodbye to Charlie with great sadness as everyone had grown so fond of him. Charlie was a real fighter and despite being 40 years old and almost blind, with liver and kidney failure he still had a strong personality and knew how to tell us he was not happy. Charlie more recently refused to leave the stable yard and so lived there happily for the last few months, where he received lots of attention daily and attracted lots of new friends. Charlie especially liked being scratched and groomed, being fed biscuits and dozing in the sunshine.
Sadly Charlie’s condition began to deteriorate and he was unaware of his surroundings, to the stage where he became frightened of many normal activities around him, and he was very distressed when he was stabled at night. For this reason we felt that it was unfair to ask Charlie to carry on.
Charlie was surrounded by people who loved him in his final hours and we hope he will now rest in peace.
Very sad news, Bella was put to sleep quite suddenly due to liver disease caused by ragwort poisoning before she came to us. We are so proud of how far she had come and she was such a beautiful girl.
Rest in peace Bella xx
We are very sad to bring the news that Big George has passed away after suffering ill health. George had improved greatly after suffering from Colic, Laminitis and Hoof Abscesses and had been spending periods of time in his stable receiving a lot of TLC. He had even been a brave boy and spent a few days at the ‘Horse Hospital’ in 2009.
He had improved enough to begin to spend his days in the field again with his friends Zak and Lady and all of the other larger horses, and we were all really pleased to see him happily galloping up the field with them each morning.
However he collapsed suddenly in his stable one day after his tea, and despite the best attempts of staff, a vet and a team of volunteers to get him to stand, he was just too ill and weak and it was decided that George had eventually given up and it was time to say goodbye to him.
We feel lucky to have had the opportunity to care for such a gentle giant who had such a kind and noble face. We are comforted to know that he was so well loved and cared for in his final years of life, he had quite a fan club and was bought some lovely gifts such as nice warm rugs and special hoof boots . He was rather a spoilt old man who wanted for nothing, which is how all horses should be when they have suffered a hard life and neglect in the past.
We hope that George will now join his pony friend, Misty who died previously to him in his old home.
He is sadly missed, and being the largest horse that we had on site, and with such a lovely personality , the place is not the same without him and he will never be forgotten.
We are sad to announce that we lost Molly recently due to a tragic accident whilst in the field.
A new horse was introduced in to the herd and all seemed well until Molly was found with an injured leg which could not be treated and so she was put to sleep.
As the pecking order is re-established whenever a new horse is introduced there is always a little bit of kicking and squealing and we are always careful to observe how the horses are getting along and we never leave them until we are satisfied that they are settled and happy, on this occasion there was most probably a squabble around feeding time which resulted in Molly being injured.
We are all devastated and miss Molly very much, as do all of her horsey family.
We are just thankful that Molly was 100% well loved and cared for right up until the end and that we were lucky enough to have known her and helped her through her fear of humans.
Molly was a very traumatised pony when she arrived as a stray over 10 years ago and was so frightened that nobody could touch her.
Over the years we gained her trust and Molly became a very well behaved and brave little pony who was always the boss of the field.
In her older years she had developed several health problems relating to her teeth and sinuses and had began to go grey around her head which all indicated that she was quite an elderly pony.
Things certainly are not the same without little Molly who used to always lead the gang in from their field by galloping up in front and tossing her mane.
Her stable is empty and it feels like a big part of Hope Pastures is missing without her little head looking over her door in the morning, we have very fond memories of Molly and will never forget her as she was such a strong and brave little mare.
1st October 2009
We were so pleased when Redwings Horse Sanctuary was kind enough to take Hilton on 24th September 2008 because he had health problems we couldn’t deal with, and they could give him the specialist care he needed. Unfortunately, we received this letter from Redwings on 1st October 2009.
”It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that Hilton was put to sleep on Monday afternoon. The vet was called to see him a few days earlier due to a sudden lameness on his near fore. He was brought into the vet unit for examination and although there was no swelling or heat in his leg, he did have a crack in his hoof and increased digital pulses. His hoof was dug out, but no puss was found. The hoof was poultised and he was given increased pain relief. The following day he had x-rays taken and nerve blocks carried out. Sadly his condition worsened and despite being given high levels of pain relief he was no longer responding; this presented us with the only option of euthanasia to prevent any suffering.
He was a lovely boy and was extremely popular with the staff that had cared for him during his time with us. I am confident the staff at Hope Pastures have many happy memories of Hilton and hope that these will be of some comfort during this difficult time.
Hilton was put to sleep by injection, which was extremely quick and painless; he enjoyed plenty of fuss and treats right up to the end.”
We had to let Napoleon go after problems with a tumor and an ulcer which had been causing us concern for a while. He had always been unhappy about anyone attempting to clean his sheath, and when it became slightly smelly the vet was called and an ulcer and some growths were found, he was given antibiotics and the vet came out every 2-3 weeks to clean the area, this improved for a while and the vets said he may carry on comfortably for some months or even years.
However one morning there was significant blood loss from the ulcer and he had seemed unhappy for a while so we decided to prevent further suffering and the vet fully agreed with our decision, he was an old fellow who had spent eight happy months being loved and spoilt with everything he needed and all the best feed and rugs.
He went to sleep with his best friend Zak close by and friendly faces holding him and stroking his head. Zak was very distressed and seemed to be searching for him for days, luckily he has two little shetland mares in his paddock who kept him company and helped him through it.
It was still upsetting to see him calling out for his old friend, they had been together for years and had been through a great deal having been severely neglected and travelling to a completely new part of the country together.
We heard two days later of a little pony down the road had also lost his friend the day after we lost Napoleon and was very depressed and would not eat.
This pony quickly came to recover from his loss at Hope Pastures and has over time made a good bond with Zak, we believe that this has helped both ponies to deal with their loss as the new pony, Toddy is the same size and temperament as Napoleon.
We are so sorry that he didn’t get to spend more happy years with us but we’ll always be glad we had him for the time we did, he was a little angel and sweetheart and lovely to look after. He must have given lots of children many happy years of riding and shows, it is just a shame he was discarded like he was as he surely deserved a happy retirement with the people who had owned him for years.
We lost Jasmine very suddenly to colic recently which was a great shock for all of us as it was so unexpected.
We tried in vain to save her but in the end it was decided her prospects were very poor and she was in severe pain so we had to make the terrible decision to say goodbye to her, this was not easy and we were very upset at how distressed Mr Pickwick was and it was a very sad day for everyone involved.
Jasmine was such a sweet gentle and pretty little pony who was always well behaved and never harmed anyone, although she had a terrible history and was really nervous, she always put so much trust in anyone who handled her, even crowds of children on pony days who she let groom and pet her for hours.
We had problems with laminitis with her over the years and it took a lot of careful management, care and attention to get her through it, we are pleased to say that she had been fine for a long time and had been running round her paddock very happily.
Mr .Pickwick was understandably very upset at Jasmines death and for a few days seemed to be looking for her, although now he has settled in a field with Muffin and Mr .Jingles and seems very happy.
We will always be glad for the time we had with her as she made everyone very privileged that she trusted after all she had been through with humans, she never showed any aggression or grumpiness and was a pleasure to care for.
We like to think that she is now in a better place with her old friend Beauty, a place where nobody can ever hurt her , torment her or break her spirit like the people who did these things years ago.
Rest in peace Jasmine you will always be missed.
Beauty was put to sleep peacefully with her best friend Muffin by her side after being allowed some time out with beauty eatinghim in a small paddock in the sunshine.
We made the difficult decision to end her long battle with laminitis and arthritis after we had tried everything possible to ease her pain.We were successful many times and she would then be allowed back out into the paddock with her friends but over the last few years the time it took her to recover became longer and longer and she had to spend long lonely periods of time in her stable.
Over winter she has been rested and has been on a new course of medication to ease her Cushings disease, and she had been x-rayed several times so that we could monitor any changes in her bones in her hooves. However it became apparent that she was not responding well enough to this that we could justify keeping her going on in such discomfort.
It was lovely to see her wandering around in her last two days with Muffin by her side , her favourite thing was grass and she seemed very content to be allowed a little bit.
She was a very pretty little pony who could be very bossy with the others when there was food around, but she was kind and gentle with people and many children enjoyed grooming her and fussing over her.
We will miss her very much, especially as we had spent so much time around her whilst she was ill. She had a favourite trick to play on us when we were distracted she would always push over our wheelbarrows when they were full, and look very pleased with herself when we had to clear it all up.
Muffin seems to miss her a little so we have put Mr.Jingles in next door to him to keep him company, which seems to have stopped him becoming too sad.
Today was a terrible day which none of us were prepared for as we had to say goodbye to our gentle giant, Penny. Although she had become increasingly lame on her arthritic knee over the past few months and it distressed us to see her so uncomfortable, we were working along with our vets to find the best way for her to live as pain free existence as possible.
We tried different painkillers and alternative therapies and investigated what was going on inside her knee by scanning it. We fed her strong supplements and herbs and she wore her magnetic boots to try and ease the pain. Eventually as everything that we tried seemed to fail it was decided that Penny should go to the veterinary centre with specialist equipment so that she could be x-rayed to see if steroid injections were an option. Everyone including the vets were shocked to see what appeared on the x-ray as her arthritis was so severe that the vets recommended Penny be put to sleep to avoid further suffering. There was also the risk that her knee could fracture any time in the near future due to how weak it was and all the pressure that Penny’s weight was placing on it.
We are all devastated and heartbroken that we could do nothing more to help fix Penny’s bad leg, apart from the old injury in her knee she was a healthy, beautiful and gentle horse who was loved by everyone. It is frustrating knowing that if she had received proper treatment when she was young and she first injured it than she would probably still be with us today. She is already missed by her neighbour Willow, who always pretended she didn’t particularly like Penny but would then get really upset and refuse to go to bed if she wasn’t already next door at tea time.
Penny was always a bit of a loner since her friend Bracken died a few years ago and would often look into her old stable to see if she was still around, even several years later. We hope that now she has gone to greet Bracken and they are wandering together among the buttercups ,just like they are in our old photographs of them together from many summers ago.
We will miss her banging on her stable door every morning for her breakfast and miss seeing her bonny face waiting for us.
It is never a good day when you have to say goodbye to an old friend. Today was the day we had to say goodbye to Zimba. We believe Zimba was around 37 years old which is a good age for a horse, unfortunately old age and a tumor on his brain caught up with him.
Rest in peace old man xx
Sadly we have had to say goodbye to little Dante due to ongoing problems with his legs which were causing him increasing pain.
He has soldiered on for almost two years with terrible Arthritis in his stifle (back leg) joints which very slowly became worse. When it became apparent that he could barely keep weight on one leg and the other one was beginning to bow under the weight of his body that we would be cruel to keep him going on in such constant pain. He had been on high dose of painkillers, herbs and mobility supplements and there was no more we could do to ease his pain.
Dante was a sweet little old man who has been at the sanctuary for at least 26 years. He arrived as a cheeky young boy who was said to enjoy nipping people, he’d been living as a pet in someone’s house but they could no longer cope with keeping a pony as a pet.
He leaves behind his best friend, Thelwell who has been his pal since he arrived 26 years ago. It is heartbreaking to see Thelwell now alone when it was rare to ever see him without little Dante by his side. He seems a little lost but we are giving him plenty of extra fuss and treats. He is now back in with the main Shetland ponies herd which seems to have helped him settle.
We have fond memories of Dante and Thelwell, such as when we first had Dante clipped and had to put him a little rain coat on for the first time. All the other ponies were curious to see Dante looking different so began to chase after him for a sniff. As Dante was worried about all this attention and galloped away, Thelwell placed himself between Dante and all the other ponies and ran along next to him to protect him.
Dante was always a pleasure to care for even though he acted grumpy a lot of the time. He stood patiently whilst many a young child practiced grooming him, forgiving if they made any mistakes or touched under his tummy which he disliked.
We will all miss his cheeky face with his lovely long beard, and his gentle greetings in the mornings when it was breakfast time or bedtime when the weather was bad, he hated the rain and would always much rather be stood inside.
Rest in peace Dante, your memory will live on in the minds of us and all the children you made friends with in your life.
Sadly we have lost our beloved old Perry following a heart attack. The vet was called out early one morning as Perry was unable to stand and was in some distress. After listening to her heart for a while the vet confirmed that Perry was suffering from a severe heart murmur, and she was given a large dose of painkiller in the hope that it would help her to overcome this and we planned to attempt to help her to her feet if the vet felt that this was an option.
Unfortunately though her condition remained the same and we had to make the kindest decision for her and agreed she should be put to sleep. She had the sun shining on her and was surrounded by staff who loved her stroking and comforting her, with her pair bond Zimba looking on.
Perry was a very dear old chestnut mare who despite having a conformational problem had lived a long time as a riding horse who was said to take good care of her rider. She was retired to the sanctuary as her owner was no longer in a position to care for her and felt that she deserved a well earned rest for the rest of her days.
This she definitely had and soon found a friend in Zimba, who was besotted with her and could even be very possessive of her at times. She will be greatly missed by all of us and not least by Zimba, who is looking very forlorn at the moment but is now stabled next to his friend Paddy who seems to be helping him through it. Thankfully he is eating and drinking well, and receiving plenty of TLC from everyone.
We are only thankful that Perry did not suffer for long and left us dignified and surrounded by the people whose voices she knew and felt comforted by.
7th July 2005
In Sugar’s earlier days she spent her time pulling a ‘rag-and-bone’ cart. When she wasn’t working her owners left her chained up without a regular supply of food and water. The local people did their best to try and help her by giving her cakes and buns. Although these were nice they were not good for her health and as a result she became so fat that she became ill. When Sugar was rescued she had to be lifted from the ground as she could not stand. On arriving at the Sanctuary she was put on a proper diet and eventually got her good looks back.
Sugar’s eyesight had been deteriorating gradually over the years but we were happy that she was coping well and being looked after by her friends in the field.
Over the last few weeks however, her sight seemed to become much poorer, she was injuring herself and was unsure where the other horses were even when they were stood nearby.
On Sunday 3rd July Sugar was found to have facial problems which may have been caused by a brain illness or damage to her facial nerves. She spent some time in her stable but seemed very depressed.
We walked her up to greet her friends near the big field and realised that she was extremely worried about her surroundings and constantly banging into things. The vet had confirmed that she had gone completely blind. We made the very upsetting and difficult decision that we would be cruel to keep sugar going as she would have to live the rest of her life in a stable and would probably lose weight and become more depressed and ill.
She was put to sleep in a very peaceful and dignified way, in her own stable with the people she knew and trusted comforting her. She was a beautiful, sweet natured and gentle pony who was a pleasure to care for. Our only comfort is knowing that she died surrounded by people who loved her, far away from the neglectful surroundings from where she was rescued all those years ago.
We will miss Sugar more than words can say.