A Personal Note: R.I.P My Beautiful Horse…Heartbroken, Lost And Devastated Without You!!

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It is with a broken heart that I write this myself, (albeit over several days) despite feeling lost, alone, terribly sad, heartbroken & in pain, I just wanted to let you all know; my beautiful horse (who saved my life) had to be put to sleep Thursday 17th July; she passed over Rainbow bridge around 6.30p.m. after a long battle with colic!

R.I.P Lillia, gone but never forgotten xxx

R.I.P Lillia, gone but never forgotten xxx

My apologies for taking so long to get in touch, but it’s taken all this time, for me to be able to think let alone write about Lillia; without breaking down! Some of you may have seen posts on FB, as my daughter put it on her FB page & shared it to mine.

Many of you know I suffer with pain, due to a riding accident, which lead to several failed back surgeries, throughout my life. There has often been times I haven’t been able to post due to pain or being in hospital! But now I have lost my best friend & life saver; I’m devastated…I just haven’t got the strength to cope with ill-health & a broken heart at the same time, to enable me to post; aside from the odd petition in the last few days!

Regards Lillia, I feel it may help me, to deal with her loss, if I write about it. To this day, I still can’t talk about her, without bursting into tears, I just wanted to be left alone to grieve in my own time! So I’m hoping this will ease my heart & reduce my tears…I hope it may also help other horses owners, that haven’t seen a horse colic & realise, just how small the signs, in their horses behaviour, can lead to severe colic!

It all started on the 23/07/2014. The vets had been called out for 3 days in a row, to see Lillia at the livery yard. Lillia was off her food & wasn’t drinking much, the livery staff also noticed a lack of faeces! It could have been anything from an upset tummy to very mild colic symptoms, going by how she was presenting! She was treated with the appropriate medications & walked accordingly, but by 7.30 p.m on Wednesday evening, she was no better; so the vet referred her for immediate investigative surgery! I felt so guilty, helpless & heartbroken that I couldn’t go with her; due to my own complications from recent surgery! My only solace, was that my daughter was with her throughout.

All I could do was sit near the phone all night, praying for a miracle. Eventually at 1.40 a.m the vet called, Lillia had been in theater for 4 hours!  Once in theater the vets noted she had suffered from a right dorsal displacement of the large colon & had an impacted Cecum, that could have ruptured at any time. They were extremely lucky they caught it before it did. I found it so strange that she wasn’t presenting the symptoms one would normally associate with the above colic, which is why she wasn’t sent to the Equine hospital sooner! Which just proves not all horses show the classic colic symptoms like; rolling, pawing, kicking the ground, biting at stomach, sweating, with a rapid pulse & heavy breathing. The vet also explained that whilst Lillia was under anaesthetic, she also had problems with her heart, but the vets manage to stabilize her & carry on with the operation. I was mortified to think my horse was going through all this, without me being there to help, due to my own pain; thank God, she had my daughter’s voice, to reassure & calm her!!

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After a week she was allowed home, still with the bandaging , stitches & staples. in place, she didn’t have to return to the hospital, as they could be taken out by any vet. From photo’s my daughter took, I couldn’t believe how quickly she had lost condition, from her withers to her backside; she looked very dehydrated. Lillia was ok for a few days, but unfortunately the colic symptoms returned, so she was rushed back into hospital. This carried on from the 23rd June to 16th July, in & out of hospital with colic symptoms. On the 16th July, she was allowed to come home once again; the yard staff had even made her a welcome home banner, thinking this would be the end of it all!

The day after she came home from her latest visit to the Equine hospital; I can’t describe why, or even begin to understand why, I had this overwhelming feeling that I just had to see her that day. This nagging, gut wrenching urge, just wouldn’t leave the pit of my stomach. Something told me that I had to be with Lillia that day. Although I was still recovering & was due in hospital the next day, I simply couldn’t ignore the feeling. I couldn’t go alone so my mum took me! I couldn’t get to see & be with Lillia fast enough, I was aching to wrap my arms around her, to tell her much I missed & loved her & how sorry I was at not being able to be with her throughout her ordeal.

Finally, we arrived at the stables (the livery yard is in another town, which meant visiting her, a problem due to my pain; my own fault, I wanted the best place where she would be loved , not just another livery number) & I soon had her in my arms! But all I could do was cry with relief, that she was ok & home again! But within 5 minutes, she began pawing the air, at first I thought it was because she was pleased to see me, & wanted a treat (she would often lift her front leg, her sign for treats) but then reality hit home; OMG…she was colicing yet again!!. Immediately the staff began walking her around whilst I rang the vet; it worried me that the staff had never seen her this bad! She was stomping, pawing, sweating & biting at her stomach. The vet reiterated how damaging it would be if she went down & began rolling, he said to give her more bute & keep her up & walking, until he arrived; the trailer was on standby, just in case!

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Lillia so desperately wanted to lay down, her back legs were buckling as she tried to walk, so the staff managed to get her into the sand school arena, so she didn’t injure her back legs. To see her being pulled & tugged at, to keep her up & moving was heart wrenching, but it had to be done. I’d done it years ago with a previous horse, but it’s not easy to keep a horse up; when all it wants to do is lay down! I sat on the bench, sobbing in my mother’s arms, watching my beautiful precious girl in such pain, was devastating to see; but harder because I wasn’t able to help! My tears wouldn’t stop & my heart was breaking. Suddenly, Lillia collapsed in the sand school & nobody could get her up; I just knew I had to be with her! So I left my mum, who was also in tears, to ring my daughter at work, to tell her she needed to get to the livery yard, ASAP.

Somehow, perhaps it was shock & adrenalin blocking my pain, I managed to get in the sand school, I just had to be with Lillia. I fell down to my knees at Lillias head, (all I could hear was my mum shouting frantically, along with the yard staff, to get up, as I wouldn’t have been able to move quick enough, had Lillia tried to get up or started rolling & kicking out in pain) but I knew once I looked into her eyes, she wasn’t going to do that! I just sat, with her head in my lap & told her how much I loved her & how brave she was. I told her that if my operation went well, we could soon be together again, perhaps even ride on the beach again & go hacking through the countryside etc; we just had so much to look forward to!

However, the longer I looked into her beautiful chocolate coloured eyes, I saw her soul & felt her pain; yet I couldn’t do anything to take it away, I just felt so bloody useless…I couldn’t hold back the tears! Stroking her face, I kept telling her how much I loved her & how sorry I was, that I couldn’t get to see her more often! Then suddenly she started to make strange grunting noises, like we would say “ugh” when in pain. I then realised why, the feeling in my gut; was telling me I had to be with her, that particular day!!

The vet arrived & after his examination, I could tell it wasn’t good, he immediately gave her pain killers & a little sedation via injection! My daughter arrived not long after the vet, which had given him time to explain the full situation to me. It left me with little doubt, the heartbreaking decision I had to make that day; if I wanted Lillias suffering to stop!!

R.I.P My special angel xx

R.I.P My special angel xx

There was no easy way to tell my daughter, that under the vets advice, I had decided to free Lillia of her pain! We both held each other; whilst sobbing & gently stroking Lillias face. The vet explained again to my daughter, what he had told me…Lillias cecum felt impacted again & could perforate. He ruled out further surgery, as she was still recovering from the first operation & there was a big risk of infection, plus the vet was also concerned with all the complications Lillia was having, post surgery. This time it could be a Cecal perforation (usually fatal)  masked through the use of drugs she was having daily (1). Moreover, there was the added concerns regarding Lillias heart problems, during surgery; the anaesthetic alone could kill her! 

However, because the vet had given Lillia IV pain relief as well as sedation, they had got her back on her feet, so she was just stood there showing little to no symptoms. My daughter pleaded with me to give Lillia another chance, but she hadn’t seen her 30 minutes before, groaning in pain. She asked the vet, if it was his horse, what would he do? He simply said “I would end it”!!

Lillia would never have recovered, if she had a Cecal Perforation; I just didn’t want her to suffer anymore, I had to make the right choice for her! I realised how many times I’d wished someone would have put me to sleep due to my chronic pain; I couldn’t let Lillia suffer. The only reason to keep Lillia alive, would be just for my own selfish reasons, because I needed her in my life & loved her so much… I didn’t want to let her go, especially as this was the first time I had seen in her months, due to my own ill-health; but I knew I had to let her go!

I had to do what was best for her, so I whispered in her ear, she didn’t have to suffer the severe pain anymore, there was a beautiful place waiting for her, just over Rainbow Bridge! Saying those words to the one you love so much is very hard indeed, I felt physically sick…but to let them go is even harder! If you truly love them, you have to let them go, I just couldn’t bear the thought of her suffering another minute, in severe pain. The vet held my arm, but I couldn’t say it, my sobbing stopped me talking…I just nodded; he knew what I meant!

We had to walk Lillia down to a field (she had to be somewhere with easy access for the trailer to get in) so the vet gave her more pain relief & sedative, then he told us to take our time, to say our goodbyes. I have to say the vet was very supportive & said he would do the same, if it were his horse. But it didn’t relieve my guilty feeling, at letting Lillia go, although it helped, knowing I was doing the right thing. My daughter had just bought Lilla, a brand new pink fluffy headcollar, that she had never worn, so we put it on her & she looked beautiful. Our hearts were breaking & our tears flowed, I have never felt so sad, broken-hearted & guilty in all my life!! Devastated, there we stood, with our arms around Lillia, our tears soaking her face. I told her she was ready to cross Rainbow Bridge, where there would be lots more horses & ponies to run & play with; I also asked her to forgive me & that one day we would be back together again, riding through the clouds!

After what seemed like hours, the vet came & told us he was going to give her another injection, that would make her fall to the ground & when we had finished our goodbyes, he would peacefully put her to sleep via another injection. Before he did, I asked if we could have one last picture taken with her! The vet gave her the injection & she immediately fell into the grass. We then spent ages laying in the grass with Lillia, she just laid there looking so peaceful; she didn’t move apart from blinking, her nostrils rising & falling with each breath. We took our time plaiting her main & talked about all the fun things we had done, we both had our own special, precious & fun memories with her!

, Just before Lillia went over Rainbow Bridge!

Saying our last goodbye’s….Just before Lillia went over Rainbow Bridge!

The vet waited with patience & sympathy until we were ready. Whilst holding Lillias head & each other, we sobbed uncontrollably, under the setting sun. It had to be done, so I nodded to the vet, who then gave Lillia the final injection, & her heart stopped. She peacefully passed away in our arms…then crossed over Rainbow Bridge! I didn’t realise just how many tears were left, we cut off the plaits of her hair to remember her by & put them in the lockets we both owned, so she would always be near our hearts forever! Then we had to say our final, heartbreaking goodbyes, leaving her alone in the field just didn’t feel right; but we had to leave. I wished we’d owned some private land. so that Lillia could have been buried, that way we could always visit; but we didn’t, so had to walk away. It was overwhelming & so emotional, all the horses that Lillia had shared the fields with, started to whinny, as if they too were saying goodbye!!

It was the ending I had always dreamt of, yet never had, with any of my other horses, when having to say goodbye! This, though so very hard, was the perfect ending; I only wish all horses could have such a beautiful & peaceful end! The last thing Lillia saw, was our faces, our voices, the last she heard! The sun was just about to go down, yet it still shone around Lillia, making her look like she was surrounded by a golden halo! Through the warm rays of the sunshine, we looked back; it was very emotional yet strangely so calm, beautiful & serene! Lillias coat glistened in the hazy sun; she just looked like she was peacefully sleeping. As we walked away, my daughter took the amazing picture below. It was a day tarnished with such heartache, sadness & raw emotion; yet also the most beautiful…Lillias image, surrounded by a golden light, will stay in my heart, always & forever. 

background lillia put to sleep

Under this beautiful sunset, Lillia passed over Rainbow Bridge…pain free at last! xx God only knows, why I’d had such a gut feeling that day & also  found the strength to be with Lillia. But whatever or whomever pleaded with my heart, to see Lillia that day, I’m eternally grateful for! I was exactly where I wanted to be…where I could be with my precious girl; on the day I had to sadly say goodbye!!

As I write this, my tears fall, but I will be back asap, I just can’t say when! I have a big spinal operation due soon, which will obviously set me back even more; there is a risk of paralyses amongst other complications, so I’ve had to think long & hard about this operation. My main reason for going ahead with it, was so that I could be with Lillia, perhaps even ride again!! However, despite the risks, I have still decided to go ahead with it. I’m devastated that Lillia has gone; but in time, I will buy or rescue another horse, so I need to be as pain-free as possible! I’m sure Lillia would have wanted me to give my love to another horse; however, nothing can or will ever replace my precious girl.

I just hope you understand the reasons for the lack of posts & can stick with me throughout this very difficult & emotional period. Losing Lilla has really knocked me off my feet & I have to admit, I have gone into a bit of a melt down! I just have to get over my broken heart & find the strength from within, to face what I’m praying; will be my last spinal operation!! It won’t give me a miraculous recovery & take all my pain away; but if all goes well, it will hopefully give me a better quality of life!

It’s taken me so many days to write the above, bit by bit, & has made me so very sad, yet I couldn’t have wished for a more perfect end for Lillia! I’ve cried a lot; but ultimately, I think writing this has helped me come to terms with my loss. Lillia was no ordinary horse, she saved me from chronic depression; she made me feel alive again, she was just such a special horse, whom I miss so very much! It’s going to take time, but one day I will find another special horse, or God Willing,  it will find me, to share my love & life with, just as Lillia had done!!

The following poem, is, I believe the words Lillia would say to me, if only she could, as I sit here in such an emotional wreck:-

Miss you from heaven

Miss you from heaven

Obviously, I’ve been away quite some time now, due to my health & the sad loss of Lillia. So I don’t blame anyone who has lost interest in my blog due to the lack of posts. But it would be great, to know I still have some followers left, to write news blogs for!! I really can’t tell you & you will never know, just how much your support has helped me deal with my life over the years…I’d like to thank each & every one of you who have subscribed & supported this blog!!

You have given me a reason, to battle on through my pain, most importantly, to help me to spread the global atrocities & raise awareness to the abuse, animals face daily at the hands of humans. Be it through slaughter for human consumption or entertainment. The public has to open its eyes to the suffering of innocent animals & act accordingly. Please don’t visit zoos or circuses, doing so only adds to their daily abuse & heartache. Please, don’t become part of their suffering by visiting animal attractions like Seaworld! The owners want you to be in awe of the beautiful Orcas & Dolphin displays & you’re encouraged to think they live a glamorous lifestyle, with the best of everything. The sheer size of a captive Orc, in relation to the pool it is kept in, is ridiculous & cruel, it’s the equivalent to a person, being locked in solitary confinement in a 10x10ft room!!!!  They want you to believe it is all done in the best interest of their species & of course for conservation etc. The handful that do so for conservation, don’t expect their  animals to entertain the public.

YOU… need to be made aware of the true suffering involved; for your entertainment. I aim to share the truth & mental suffering these amazing animals have to go through, to entertain the paying public…this goes for every caged animal, forced to entertain for profit! Seriously, you must understand why some captive animals just snap: which usually ends with the life of a human & the animal involved being killed! They never asked to be involved…they were forced. Seriously, have you ever seen an elephant stand on its head in the wild? or tigers & lions jumping through hoops of fire?? It’s not natural to them, they are forced, often in barbaric ways…just to entertain you & are purely motivated by money alone!!

Remember, the only thing that will love you more than yourself, is an animal; pure & simple unconditional love, asking so little in return!

I promise I’ll  be back just as soon as I can & I hope I can count on your help & support by sharing my stories, news & signing petitions regards animals abuse! The free speaking public, need to learn the truth about the abuse animals suffer. Regards the exotic species, torn from their families as youngsters, then cruelly abused & repeatedly trained through abuse & violence, how to entertain those on vacation; such as dancing bears, photos with young elephants on busy streets, monkeys. birds & sea life…that are brutally forced to entertain for money…PERIOD!!! If those who go to venues involving animals, they need to learn the truth & the signs to look for. The swaying elephants, the pacing tigers, bears, repetitive animal behavior etc, they act that way due to psychosis, they are literally going stir crazy…wouldn’t you? if you were taken from your family, caged beaten into submission; then trained to entertain??? If  your answer is no, then  sadly I think you’re reading the wrong blog!!!

Footnote

  1.  Cecal impaction and cecal perforation, the two most common equine cecal diseases, are thought to develop after slowing or interruption of a single progressive motility pattern, which begins in a pacemaker area near the apex, occurs once every 3 minutes, and propels ingesta from the cecum to the right ventral colon. Rectal examination in horses with cecal impaction is the most useful technique to grade the severity of the condition. Medical treatment is undertaken if the impaction is judged to be mild to moderate. Surgical correction of cecal impaction in severe cases requires a ventral midline celiotomy, and exploration reveals a large ingesta-filled cecum and relatively empty large colon.Cecal perforation (CP), a uniformly fatal disease of horses, most often develops when the subtle signs of cecal impaction are missed or are masked by the administration of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents. 

 

 

 

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Personal: Just A Quick Note About Future Posts

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Hi folks

“Me, again, sorry, but I just had a brainwave; or in my case, more of a ripple…lol”

“As you know, due to my present circumstances (if you read the last personal post) my time online is precious, due to increasing pain! This is because the strength of oral morphine I take, is decreasing weekly; to prepare my body for an operation to have a morphine pump fitted (Which better bloody work after all this!!!) Obviously the extra pain, is stopping me from being able to get to my main PC, to post stories!”

“I am more than aware of how far behind I am, with recent news articles & stories; many are backed up on my pc just waiting for me to post! All of which makes me very frustrated. But I think there is a way I could post a little more; that is if I stop editing stories like I do!!!”

“Yes, I am guilty of wanting to make posts look more interesting & appealing on the eye. I like highlighting the best bits, as some people don’t want to, or don’t have time to read the full article; I often skim over stories when I don’t have time to read the full post. But I also like to use colours to highlight names, I use pictures & image galleries. I like researching more about the stories; so I can include any relevant petitions etc.

“I see nothing wrong with how I edit the stories, however doing so, is very time-consuming, something I just don’t have right now!”

“So, I think whilst my time online is limited…I could get more done, if I just post stories “as is”, just how they are printed in their online news format, without me giving them a makeover; so to speak! Plus I will just use the basic categories too (I know, my posts contain a lot of categories…lol) I just like stories to be found easily, that’s all!”

“I’m sure by posting stories & articles without adding my extra touches…it will enable me to post a little more! Once again, my sincere apologies for the lack of news items, with some being past their due date; I can only go as fast as my body is able!! Hopefully once the surgery is done, I will have all the time in the world to edit, & do makeovers on as many stories as I like!!”

“Like I said, I have a few stories backed up, but they will by now be past their online postdates;  my apologies!”

P.S. Many many thanks to all those who sent birthday wishes! I was & still am, quite touched by the kindness & thoughtfulness; of people whom I only know through a keyboard!

Plus, with a lot of sheer determination, encouragement & help from family & friends…after 6 months confined at home due to pain…I finally managed the journey to the livery yard & got to see my horses; which, of course, was the best present ever! I can’t thank those involved enough; aside from saying “I love you guys”! 

Jules

Charities Warning Of Potential Crisis For Horses And Ponies

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“Redwings is one of my favorite charities in the UK, they do immense work taking care of neglected, sick & abandoned horses; but their name is not as well known as World Horse Welfare etc. I support all equine charities, just wish I could help more.  I rescued 1 but can’t take anymore as I don’t have any fields anymore, I now keep mine in full livery (due to my disability)  which is expensive, but I know they are well taken care of. I do have several virtual adoptions & fosters, which is a great way to help the charities; without physically having the horses!

 Redwings is working alongside other welfare charities to call for government and public help in a landmark report that warns of an impending crisis in England and Wales which could leave the welfare of many thousands of horses at risk.

The report, ‘On the Verge: the approaching Equine Crisis in England and Wales’, predicts that another harsh winter will leave animal charities physically unable to cope and asks what will happen to the increasing numbers of horses being abandoned or suffering from welfare concerns

We are asking the public to rehome more horses; for horse owners to take responsibility for their animals and not pass the problem onto local authorities, charities and landowners; and for the Government and other agencies to meet us halfway and help rein in this problem before another winter of misery for hundreds of horses and ponies.

  • All the organisations have seen increasing numbers:
  • The RSPCA took in more than twice the number of horses, 304, between April 2011 and March 2012 as it did the previous year.
  • World Horse Welfare has seen the numbers of horses taken into its centres rise by 50% from 129 in 2006 to 194 in 2011 and has had to restrict admissions to the most severe cases.
  • Redwings has seen a 28 per cent increase in equines being taken in from 2006 to 2011 and has seen abandonments rise from 160 in 2009 to 450 in 2011. So far this year we have had an astonishing 636 horses and ponies reported to us as abandoned up to the end of September.
  • Last winter HorseWorld saw a threefold increase in the number of abandoned and neglected horses it rescued, compared with the previous year.

Nicolas de Brauwere, Head of Welfare at Redwings Horse Sanctuary and Chairman of the National Equine Welfare Council, said: “It is an extremely serious state of affairs. In February this year, for example, we had a situation where a group of more than 60 horses and ponies that had been left to fend for themselves in Wales were facing euthanasia by the local authority which had found itself in an impossible situation through the irresponsible actions of a callous owner. On that occasion several charities stepped up at the last moment and offered them a home, but we had to stretch ourselves and our teams to the limit to do so.

“Another case like that may be the final straw, which is why we urgently need the help and support of both the public and the government as this winter approaches.”

Overbreeding

Horses are still being bred on a large scale and continue to be imported from Ireland and the continent, despite there being no market for them. This has led to the market becoming saturated, with animals being sold at some markets for as little as £5.

Economic climate

Horses can cost up to £100 per week to look after and in the current financial climate, people try to cut back on vet costs, hoof care and feed. This inevitably leads to welfare problems.

Both factors have led to a visible increase in the problem of fly grazing – illegal grazing of horses on public and private land. Fly grazing is a problem for farmers, landowners and local authorities, and increasingly it is leading to welfare concerns, as too often these owners do not provide basic care for their animals.

RSPCA head of public affairs, David Bowles, said: “We have a perfect storm of horses continuing to be bred and imported to the UK adding to a rising population and people, suffering under the economic climate, cutting back on animal care bills.

“People need to start realising that there is very little financial reward in breeding horses and ponies, especially where there is poor husbandry or the animals have genetic problems. You won’t make your fortune, all you will have is lots of horses and animals on your hands which need feeding, shelter and care and which you will not be able to sell.”

  • What the Government can do:
  • The Government should introduce criminal legislation targeting fly grazing – punishing offenders with fines and seizure of horses
  • – Introduce legislation or mechanisms to better link horses to owners to tackle irresponsible ownership
  • – Increased intelligence-led enforcement of horse imports and exports
  • – Review the Tripartite agreement** that allows the import and export of vulnerable horses and ponies into and out of Britain from Ireland and France
  • – Encourage responsible breeding through guidance and education
  • – More assistance for local authorities including provision of places to keep horses on a temporary basis
  • – Improve enforcement and cooperation between enforcement agencies and charitiesWhat YOU can do:
  • – The horse owning public can play an important part by keeping on top of their own situation. If you need help, please contact our Welfare helpline on 01508 481008 for advice before the situation escalates into a welfare problem.
  • – If you think you could give a good new home to a horse or pony you can view the horses we have available for rehoming here: www.redwings.co.uk/rehoming. The National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) is a membership organisation for over sixty horse charities and welfare organisations and details of how to rehome a horse from any of its members can be found at http://www.newc.co.uk/
  • – Members of the public can also write to their MP  (click the link below to send email) and ask them to lobby the Secretary of State Owen Paterson about the national horse crisis and ask him to support tougher laws to encourage responsible ownership and improve enforcement. http://campaign.publicaffairsbriefing.co.uk/emailsupport.aspx?cid=defb0b88-91af-4aab-a047-f6aff6db6c97

    Tiny Tilly was dumped on the side of a road with a severe leg injury

And of course, please continue to support us so we can help as many horses as we can, just like those below…and thank you for all your support in the past from everyone here at Redwings. Thank you!

Left on the verge

Horse welfare charities need your help to handle what could become a ‘horse crisis’ in England and Wales.

We are under immense pressure due to the increasing number of horses and ponies needing our help. There are 2,800 equines in our rehoming centres, which are now at capacity, and it is estimated that a further 6,000 horses are at risk in England and Wales. There is real concern that should there be another harsh winter, we will be physically unable to cope with the number of horses needing urgent care.

World Horse Welfare, the RSPCA, Redwings, The Blue Cross, The British Horse Society and HorseWorld are working together with the support of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) to try and overcome this crisis, and have produced a report showing the problem and our proposed solutions, but we also need the support of the horse owning public, government agencies and local authorities. 

Please help us by emailing your MP and asking them to support us in dealing with this crisis. We need Government support for the solutions in our report. By contacting Ministers, MPs can use their influence to help us – but we need you, their constituents, to ask them to do so.

News Link:http://www.redwings.org.uk/news-horsecrisis.php

Patrik Kittel Reignites Rollkur Controversy at Olympics

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“A horse above, over, evading the bit, mouth open, tongue showing, however you call it, it’s all evidence that the horse is avoiding contact and has problems… (That’s just the mouth)…The FEI Rules, state marks from 1-3 can be deducted for each instance seen, so I don’t understand why some are scoring so high! My mare is only ever ridden bit less, even in dressage, (obviously not to this high level, I wish) but bit less is not accepted in dressage, so she can’t enter local competitions, its ridiculous! A horse doesn’t nor shouldn’t have to be tortured through aggressive use of the bit & reins etc. to achieve this look!”

A photo capturing Swedish dressage rider, Patrik Kittel, has reignited the rollkur debate in the horse community. Kittel was warming up his horse Scandic on Thursday when the image was captured. 

Dressage enthusiasts world-wide called for Kittel’s disqualification from the Olympics, however he competed Friday posting a score of 74.03. His score qualifies him – among thirty – to compete for an individual medal.
The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) initially responded on its Facebook page to the outrage and allegations of abuse. “We are aware that there is concern about some training methods, but photographs can be misleading. Rest assured that our stewards are always there, on the ground, monitoring all training sessions. We are on the case.”
While the FEI tried to calm fans, its Facebook page continued to received hundreds of posts calling for action.
As more photographs surfaced throughout the day, we pressed the FEI for additional answers. “We completely agree that the pictures are unattractive, but we have spoken to the Stewards who were monitoring the session and they have clearly confirmed that Patrik Kittel was not in breach of the rules as he only maintained the horse’s head and neck in that position for very short periods,” says FEI Dressage Director, Trond Asmyr, in a statement to Rate My Horse PRO.
The rules state that “deliberate extreme flexions of the neck involving either high, low or lateral head carriages, should only be performed for very short periods. If performed for longer periods the steward will intervene,” he says. More pictures at the link.
Kittel responded to the accusations on Facebook. “The surprise of the day came when St George (again of course) put pictures from the training up, I really think they went below the belt this time,,, I for sure have not ridden Scandic in anyway that will harm him, but I seem to be a good target to get clicks for… Anyway I have so much support!!! And to the critics All I can say don’t believe photos that were taken in a bad moment go to the Show and see for yourself then believe.”
Kittel is no stranger to scandal. The infamous “blue tongue video” from 2009 shows him riding his stallion hyper-flexed to the point the horse’s tongue is blue and hanging out of his mouth. After review, the FEI ruled “there is no reliable evidence that the warm-up techniques used by Mr Kittel were excessive.” 

Uploaded by  on 26 Oct 2009

This is the uncut version of the video sequence, which shows the KWPN stallion, Watermill Scandic, being ridden in the hyperflexed/rollkur position with its blue tongue lolling out at the World Cup dressage qualifier in Odense, Denmark in October 2009.

A photographer also captured Netherlands rider Patrick van der Meer riding Uzzo in an unsightly moment during warm-up.

Patrick van der Meer & Uzzo…My question would be, how long did he hold that posistion for??

In 2010, the FEI announced it “resolved the rollkur controversy.” The consensus of the group “was that any head and neck position achieved through aggressive force is not acceptable.” The group redefined rollkur as flexion of the horse’s neck achieved through aggressive force, which the association deemed unacceptable.
The technique known as Low, Deep and Round (LDR), which according to the FEI achieves flexion without undue force, is accepted by the governing body. 
As the world watches our equestrian sports on the Olympic stage, the debate continues regarding acceptable training methods.

Face book link:https://www.facebook.com/TurnYourBackOnRidersThatRollkur

RSPCA in abandoned horses appeal

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The RSPCA has launched an emergency appeal to find foster homes for a “never ending tide” of abandoned young horses. 

The charity said it was currently looking after nearly 600 horses and ponies which have suffered neglect and cruelty – a figure which has more than doubled since last year, with almost half of the animals involved being youngsters.

It has launched the “Stable Future” appeal to find fosterers able temporarily to look after some of the 270 animals which are too young to be ridden.

Sally Learoyd, the RSPCA’s equine rehoming officer, said: “Over the past year we’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of horses being disowned or allowed to get into an appalling state because the trade in horses has collapsed.”

She added: “I’ve heard of young horses being sold for £5 – less than the price of a bottle of wine. I’ve heard of horses being bought and sold in pubs and we’ve come across a case of someone keeping a horse on a tower block balcony and feeding it on kitchen scraps. We have a never-ending tide of young horses coming into our centres. Fostering our youngsters is a way that horse lovers can help us with this problem.”

The recession, rising hay costs and irresponsible breeding are thought to be to blame for the rising number of horses being neglected and abandoned.

An RSPCA spokesman said: “We have found new homes for a record number of horses over the past year but we simply cannot keep up with the flood of animals which need our help because of terrible neglect and cruelty. We face a huge £3.2 million bill just to care for the influx of ponies and horses which does not include vet bills or prosecution costs. To help ease the crisis we are urging people to foster one of our youngsters until it is old enough to be prepared for work and we can find it a new home.”

Ms Learoyd added: “Fostering is a great way for people to have the enjoyment of being around youngsters whilst helping us out in the short-term. Just like teenagers, these young horses need experience of life, a day to day routine and a guiding hand. Being a fosterer is a really rewarding experience. You can see these youngsters’ personalities change and develop as they grow.”

The RSPCA has 594 horses and ponies in its care compared to about 290 in April last year – 266 are youngsters. It rehomed 240 horses last year – 50% more than the previous year.

The youngsters available for fostering are aged between one and three and all happy, healthy and handleable. They are microchipped, will have passports and tetanus vaccinations.

News Link:-http://news.uk.msn.com/articles.aspx?cp-documentid=161366078

“If you have a horse, or a few farm animals, a young horse would be great company for them & also give you lot’s of pleasure, one things for sure, a young colt or filly will keep you laughing!

 “There are many benefits of getting a young horse too,  it grows with you, your voice, your commands,  you teach it, you learn together for whatever discipline you have in mind.  You also know it’s not picked up bad vices, like you often get when going for an older horse, who has been passed from owner to owner!!” 

“Take a look at this video, it was taken several months after we rescued some gypsy horses from an auction & possible kill buyers. They had never known what it was like to be loved, never mind to run free,  so for them, it must have felt like they were flying ….I will never forget their excited whinny’s, it truly was awesome! It’s an amazing & proud feeling, to know that you have held out a helping hand, & given a loving home to any unwanted animal.  Turn your speakers up & listen to the sound of happy, healthy little colts, playing for the first time in their lives (sorry, excuse the phone ringing on the video…lol)”  

“If only to hear the whinny’s of excitement, I would do it all over again & again if my health wasn’t deteriorating so fast. So in light of that, I have already found My Bengie, the piebald (black/white) colt, a new forever home, with some friends, their little girl can’t wait to get him…It’s going to be hard for me to say goodbye, but I’ll still be able to see him & under the circumstances, I have no option.  I know he is gong to be very happy, which is my one & only concern.”

Horse video prompts animal abuse investigation

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MADISON, Wis. –

A short video recording taken as the Midwest Horse Fair was wrapping up in Madison could result in an animal mistreatment citation.

On Wednesday night, the woman in the video said the clip doesn’t show the entire incident, for which she has not been cited or charged.

Erica Frei recorded the video then posted it to YouTube. Frei said her first instinct was to keep walking, but what she saw didn’t sit right, so she pulled out her camera and started shooting.

Frei said she was at Midwest Horse Fair as it was wrapping up Sunday at the Alliant Energy Center, and she said a commotion caused her to start recording when a woman took a hollow plastic bat and started swinging it at a horse in an attempt to coax the horse into a trailer.

“They weren’t working at it very long before this, so definitely more time and patience. They could have started out with a crop and tapping instead of hitting,” Frei said. “Most people would call it stubbornness; it’s usually (the horses) don’t understand what you want them to do.”

Patrick Comfert with Animal Services for Madison and Dane County said they are investigating the incident in the video.

“Our feeling is that the act itself was totally unnecessary,” Comfert said. “There’s no reason that a professional person or any person needs to attempt to load a horse in that manner.”

In a statement, representatives for the Midwest Horse Fair said they don’t condone the conduct in the video.

“The Midwest Horse Fair does not condone the conduct shown in the video in any way. Unfortunately, the situation depicted on the video arose as the trainer was leaving the grounds, and our staff was not alerted in time to remedy the situation,” the Midwest Horse Fair said in the statement.

Frei said she decided to speak up after seeing too many animal abuse cases end in injury or death.

“So I guess I’d like to just raise awareness and say this isn’t OK. It’s not OK to wait until the horse is bleeding and laying on the ground, suffering; abuse starts long before that,” Frei said.

Animal Services said it expects to evaluate any potential action beginning Thursday when its legal counsel returns to the office.

Comfert said this type of action might be acceptable if an animal was in danger, but in this case, it doesn’t appear it was justified.

In a statement from the woman in the video, she said, “Attempts to load the horse had been going on for an hour and a half prior,” and “gentler methods such as tapping and using treats were used at the start and were not successful.” She also said in the statement that the horse had become violent.

News Link:-http://www.channel3000.com/news/Horse-video-prompts-animal-abuse-investigation/-/1648/11906008/-/b7jx9sz/-/index.html

“OK…I have been in the equine business for 40+ years so know a thing or two! The one thing you do not do, if a horse won’t load, is beat it…Ok she didn’t use anything that would have really hurt the horse, but it’s her whole demeanour, that women is really putting some aggression into  swinging that hollow plastic bat, & the horse will remember it!!

“I understand her frustration,…I found out my My Gelderland mare wouldn’t load, after I bought her!!…So to bring her home she had to be sedated. She obviously had some really bad trauma, prior to me buying her. Something the past owners never told me about!!! So now, because of her past experience, she has to be sedated to get even near the trailer”.

Sedation is used just  to relax her, because she could really hurt me or herself badly if  panicked. After the sedation is given, I wait until SHE is ready to walk into the trailer with me…it can take hours, longest time, 6 hours, with sedation being topped up. But I’m taking it slow, cos my horse thinks their is a predator in that dark cave I want her to go in…It’s up to me to make her believe she will be ok…but she is an extreme case. Most horse go into trailers like their walking into their own barn!”

“I have done all the Parelli & other techniques, they work to a point, until my mare realises she is going to get gobbled up…lol…shouldn’t laugh but the time it takes my mare to load, is also a bonding session betweent the 2 of us. I don’t show or compete since my accident so it doesn’t really matter if loading takes a long time…for now I’m ok with just getting her near a trailer without kicking off!!

“However, if you reprimand a horse for not loading… believe me, it will remember & next time you try to load that horse, it will be even harder! So take your time, realise the horse is a prey animal who probably thinks there is a predator in that trailer. To totally understand a horse, you have to think like one!”

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The Equine Mind: Top 10 Things to Know

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“A Great post for all us horsey people in blog land & for those who want to know why a horse does what it does!”

My beautiful Gelderland Mare Lillia

“Why does he do that?” “What is she so scared of … there’s nothing there!” Most—if not all—horse owners have been there and asked those questions. Even though we don’t always understand equine behavior, there’s got to be a reason behind it, right? Absolutely. Horses’ behaviors date back to equine evolution, and horse owners greatly benefit from an understanding what goes on in a horse’s brain, according to one veterinarian. At the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 19-23 in Las Vegas, Nev., Robert Miller, DVM, a former equine practitioner from Thousand Oaks, Calif., relayed the top 10 things horse owners, caretakers, and riders should understand about how the equine mind functions.

“There are 10 genetically predetermined behavioral qualities unique to the horse that have been established by natural selection over the 50 million-year period during which the horse evolved,” Miller began. “Failure to understand these qualities makes it impossible to have optimum communication with horses.”

  1. Flight—”We tend to attribute the flightiness of a horse as stupidity,” Miller said, but when horses spook and run from things, it’s simply their innate instincts kicking in. He explained that unlike the majority of prey animals that depend on horns, tusks, or antlers for defense, the only mechanism horses are armed with—their “life-saving” behavior—is the ability to run. The following nine qualities, Miller said, stem from the horse’s flight response.
  2. Perception—”The horseis the most perceptive of all domestic animals,” Miller said, adding that this quality allowed for the quick detection and escape from predators in the wild. He gave examples using the five senses:
    • Smell—Miller said horses have an “excellent” sense of smell.
    • Hearing—”The horse’s range of hearing is far beyond that of a human ear,” he said. Additionally, he noted, the ears swivel, giving the horse the ability to pinpoint where sounds originate. This was critical for survival in the wild.
    • Touch—”A horse’s sense of touch is extremely delicate,” Miller said, which is why an ill-placed saddle pad or a single fly can cause extreme irritation. “The sense we have in our fingertips is what the horse has all over his body.”
    • Taste—Ever tried to sneak Bute or a new supplement into a horse’s feed, only to have him turn up his nose? Horses have a very tactful sense of taste. When grazing in the wild, it’s important for horses to differentiate between good grass and moldy forage.
    • Sight—The sense that varies most from ours is the horse’s eyesight. While horses’ depth perception isn’t particularly strong, other factors enable them to “see things we’re not even aware of,” Miller said. The horse’s laterally placed eyes allow for nearly 360⁰ vision, a crucial survival mechanism for the wild equid. Additionally, Miller noted the horse has superb night vision and sees in muted, pastel colors during the day. The equine focusing system is also different from humans, he said. When a human eye transitions from focusing on close-up objects to far away objects, it takes one and a half to two seconds to adjust (Miller encouraged attendees to try it—look at something close up and then look at something far away, and try to focus on how long it takes the eyes to focus). Horses, on the other hand, make the transition seamlessly. This is because different parts of the eye have different focusing capabilities. Horses use the top portion of their eyes to see up close, which is why they often lower their heads when investigating something. The lower portion of the eye sees far away, which is why the animal will raise his head when looking at something in the distance; when the horse holds his head up high, he’s considered to be in the flight position.

To read the rest of this post click here:- The Equine Mind – Top 10 Things

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