Sunday-Rose has settled in beautifully and is eating well.
She now has a bright future ahead thanks to all of your support.
Sunday-Rose has settled in beautifully and is eating well.
Sunday-Rose has settled in beautifully and is eating well.
She now has a bright future ahead thanks to all of your support.
In the past the property, Alumor, has been used as a thoroughbred spelling property, and although there’s a lot of work to be done, the bones are there, with the property divided into paddocks, each with its own water.
This past weekend we’ve had our massive working bee – and wow, what a difference a few days can make. We’ve cleared paddocks, repaired fencing, painted the house and mowed – and did I mention mowed???
Things will work a bit differently at this sanctuary – instead of having a resident caretaker, the house will be a Save a Horse Australia house for staff, interns and volunteers.
With its facilities of several round-yards, an open barn with a small arena area, a large flat paddock perfect for working horses, and access to the National Trail at our back door we are very excited to move forward into a system where we can rescue, rehabilitate and re-home easily from one spot.
Withcott has some perfect areas for our equine therapeutic programs, including a lovely old open dairy bales. The horses that will be used for the programs – including our Equine Facilitated Learning, Mates 4 Mates, and other programs in the pipleline – will be those that for one reason or another can’t be re-homed due to age or medical needs, and that are suitable for interaction with children and adults. It will give SAHA’s permanent residents a wonderful chance to engage more with people – humans and horses healing together is a wonderful thing, as any horse people know.
Once we’ve moved – and it’s a pretty massive move to get our 40 Tarampa residents up here and settled – then we will open our doors to new rescues, but just while we regroup we will be sticking with our current 104 horses!
On that note – our move is EXPENSIVE!! At the moment we have double rent (triple if your count Buccan); all the costs of setting up the property and the house, and the move to come. We are still $4,300 short of the $13,000 we had budgeted for the move and to be honest we are a bit desperate – if there is any way any of you could contribute to our moving fundraiser we will be forever grateful. To donate, click here.
In other news, because of all the heavy rain, which was eerily reminiscent of the floods last year but thank goodness in the end not as bad, we’ve been taking some horses off Buccan. Three of the lucky ducks that have gone to a 15-acre paddock full of grass at a Somerset property are Surprise, Sunny and Dallas, with Chico and Zorro to follow on Tuesday. Little Milo and Charming are off to Michelle’s for a few weeks until Withcott has safe paddocks where they can pick but not over-eat; Nelly has gone to a wonderful foster home and we are so thrilled for him; Zeus has been adopted to Anne-Marie, to be a companion horse, to her mare Lilly who needed a friend. It’s a beautiful property and a lovely home for our dear boy.
Matisse, our lovely four-rising-five-year-old Percheron-cross, who has recently come back into care, is coming down to me at Mullumbimby to join the little herd of Tyra, Chantilly and Roulette and start her journey towards being a ridden horse.
Which brings me to the horses and their training.
This is such an essential part of rehabilitation – it can’t be over-stated how important it is that when we adopt a horse, even if it’s a companion horse, that it is safe in all aspects – including tying up happily, standing for the farrier and floating well, and all of this, when you are dealing with young horses or horses who have had abuse, takes time.
Down at Mullum the fantastic news is that our lovely trainer, Callum Snell (The Barefoot Brother) has fallen in love with dear Dawson, and now that Dawson has learned some manners, he is at Cal’s in a great new home where he will have loads of stimulation.
Chantilly and Roulette are coming along in leaps and bounds – Chantilly has gone from quite strong resistance to any form of training, to putting up a metaphoric hand, and shouting out, choose me, choose me – what are we going to do today???? It’s so lovely to see. She’s now being ridden, and as long as everything goes well, I believe she’ll be ready for adoption in a few months.
Even though training in this way takes longer, because Cal is doing it at the property where the horses are living it is a wonderful way to build a long-term foundation that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives! Each horse in full-time training costs $100 per week, and will be in training for a minimum of six weeks, depending on their age, stage and personality.
For those of you who will see the benefit of this slow and steady method and might consider it worthwhile to donate for our ongoing training costs, you can Donate Here.
And the moving link again is: : https://saveahorse.giveeasy.org/campaigns/were-on-the-move-can-you-help-us-raise-13000/
Thank you to all our wonderful supporters out there, we appreciate you from the bottom of our hearts, and so do the horses! We can’t do all this without you, and as we move towards our new incarnation at Withcott we are very excited to be on the journey with you.
And last, but by no means least – don’t forget it’s only just over a month until we draw our massive cash raffle on Mother’s Day – with three amazing cash prizes. The draw will be live from the Withcott sanctuary, and you have to be in it to win it!
First prize is $10,000, 2nd prize $3000, and 3rd prize $1500.
This is the link if you’d like to buy a ticket: Buy Tickets Here
Candida Baker – President
I was only five years old when I first noticed that horses made me happy. My best friend, Sally, a couple of years older than me, had a perfect first pony, a grey Welsh Cob called Lucy, as safe, sound and sane as they come, and Sally was kind enough to let me spend hours with them both, grooming Lucy, or walking beside them both while Sally rode, or even riding myself, or best of all, doubling together.
Looking back through the mists of time, there’s something that stands out about those early memories – and that’s the fact that the absolute best times we shared were not necessarily the riding ones. The times spent talking down by the river while Lucy munched contentedly beside us; the times when we would tuck Lucy up in her stable, out of the bad weather, and just hang in there with her, plaiting her mane or simply sometimes just leaning against her, inhaling her warm horsey smell. All three of us just about as content as it’s possible for girls and pony to be.
Fast forward almost sixty years and 12,000 miles away from the country of my birth, and here I am, with a group of like-minded women having just taken part in the Equine Facilitated Learning Level 1 course – in order to become practitioners of this groundwork based course, in which there are three participants – the client, the horse and the facilitator.
After many years of horse rescue and rehabilitation, natural horsemanship and the teaching of my own methods to children, friends, family and volunteer helpers, I’m not new to the world of equine therapeutic modalities, but I decided to do this course for a specific reason – I wanted to have a qualification which will allow me to do something I’m passionate about – to set up horse groundwork sessions for our rescue horses and for those who might benefit from time spent hanging out with horses, in which ‘magic’ is the key ingredient.
And here’s the thing – our move to Withcott is to enable to set up these programs, and so far thanks to all your generous donations we’ve raised $7500 of the $13,000 we’ve budgeted for the move so in order for us to reach our goal, if you would care to donate to our Withcott move at any time in the next six weeks, you can donate by clicking on this link.
It was an intense four days! The clinic was conducted by Elaine Hughes, the guardian of EFL in Australia. Originally from the UK, but now based in Victoria, Elaine has had many decades of horse experience, and has studied with many of the ‘natural’ trainers, but it was a meeting with Frank Levinson, the founder of EFL, that prompted her interest in the program. When she and her family of four and two-legged friends moved to Australia, Elaine partnered with Sally Francis to create AEFL. Elaine teaches the clinic with her two off-siders, Louise, otherwise known as Irish, and her partner Dave.
What I witnessed as we moved through the four days into a deeper understanding of the horse and human bond, culminating in working with ‘real’ clients on the last day is that EFL seems to substantially deepen people’s understanding of their personal issues and feelings, and that some level of fundamental relaxation occurs.
But the careful – almost invisible – guidance of the facilitator also allows children and adults to experience, as Elaine says: “a huge surge in self-esteem and confidence when they realise they can create boundaries and direct a pony or horse to move in a particular way.”
And WOW – the women I did the course with, what an extraordinary group of women, and on this year’s International Women’s Day – with the emphasis on progress this year, I would like to take my (horse) hat off to them. There was Sue and Rachel, both from the Northern Territory; Elisha, Talitha, Sonja and Meg and myself – all local; Nancy from Beaudesert; Naomi from the hinterland of the Gold Coast, Cathy Binz, our new Committee member and Program Director, from Brisbane and Magnolia from Kuranda – near Cairns. It was a privilege to watch these women – the majority with already very high horsemanship skills, listening to Elaine so intently, and taking on board the new concepts she presented so that we could go back out into the world with a whole new level of skill. It just goes to show that you never stop learning!
Over the course of the four days we were given real examples of EFL clients – children who had stopped speaking; people with anxiety and depression; children and adults with physical or intellectual (or both) disabilities; people who were simply afraid of horses and wanted to learn not to be – all of these scenarios (and more) were presented to us either in theory or practice with role play, or clients. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience for all of us to take our already existing horsemanship skills and our rapid immersion into EFL and to witness the ways in which we could help both ourselves, the client and the horse develop what I can only describe as an elasticity of brain and body. We learnt quickly to allow the space for the session to evolve into whatever is most fulfilling for the client and the horse.
Women and Horses. Oh yes.
People love to buy tickets at the last minute and indeed that’s what happened – we sold literally thousands of tickets in the last week and although we fell short of the 15,000 (our final ticket sales were 13,342) it was still a very good result for us!
It was also an extremely good result for our lucky winner, Heather Beard – and more on Heather and the raffle in a minute.
The last two weeks of February were spent (for management at least) getting ready for our AGM, finalising our audit so our financials could go up on the ACNC website, and as you can imagine that is no mean feat. But we managed it and the AGM of the Association was held on Tuesday 20 February with the 2017 audited financials now available on the ACNC website.
At the AGM all members of the management committee must stand down and elections held. I was re-elected as President, Suzanne Young, re-elected as Treasurer and Rachel Daniels-Fitzpatrick re-elected as a committee member. We also have the addition of Cathy Binz and Cameron Burnett joining us as committee members.
We now have a great deal of equine experience and a variety of diverse skills and talents on our Committee and senior staff. Cathy is a qualified EA Level 1 Coach, a dressage rider, and has a large amount of non-profit experience, while Cameron is a solicitor who owns several horses and has been associated with SAHA for several years. We are very excited to expand our committee and have them on board.
So as you will all be aware we have put a lot of thought recently into the future of SAHA. How do we ensure that the Charity will exist forever, and how do we create a strong financial foundation for it in order for that to be possible and for SAHA to be able to fulfil its mission statement of continuing to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home horses?
Obviously one of the things we’ve been working on is creating diverse income streams, so that the Charity is not always dependent solely on donations.
At the AGM I expanded on the plans for the future of SAHA, including the development of therapy programs to not only provide additional income streams for the charity but to provide essential services to the community and most importantly give our precious retired horses a purpose and as much people interaction as possible which helps to keep them mentally stimulated. Any horse lover knows how much horses enjoy a ‘job’, even when that job is simply being patted, groomed and walked on regular occasions.
In the next week or so I hope to be able to bring you an actual timetable for the introduction of these programs, and a fuller description of them all. Believe me, it’s all systems go behind the scenes!
To wind up the AGM business, we were all of course, immensely proud that the ACNC has recently signed off on the Charity’s improvements to policies and procedures and governance and we are now able to display the ACNC Registered Charity Tick.
As a registered charity, of course when we run raffles we need to ensure that we have all the proper raffle permits, and that everything is run by the book. We have been very fortunate that the raffle income has helped sustain us since we launched it late last year, and even once we have taken out the cost of the float and Hilux, advertising and raffle-management fees we were left with enough to pay down all our major bills and cover us for a few months into the future.
To put it bluntly though, we need several raffles a year, on top of donations and programs to ensure that we bring in the $1m plus that it costs to keep the Charity going with the ongoing daily care of over 100 horses, two sanctuaries, staff, maintenance, equipment and rent. One of the lovely aspects of running raffles is making THE call – although Heather was missing in action for a while due to a phone on silent – (!) and listening to the sheer joy when you tell them the news that they’ve won a prize worth $80,000.
Heather, who lives on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, has bred Stock Horses for many years on an agistment property, and the call came for her on what was otherwise a very sad day.
“I’d had to have my 21-year-old premier broodmare put to sleep yesterday,” she told me, “because she had massive tumours in her mouth and simply couldn’t eat, so I was very sad. It was a huge personal loss for me. Then to get the news late last night that I’d won was such an emotional high, so it was a bit of a roller-coaster day!”
Heather’s horses – ‘Maybah’ Stock Horses – are a huge part of her life. “I grew up on a cattle station near Alice Springs,” she says, “and even though I live and work in the city, horses have never stopped being part of my life – and they never will!”
On top of all of that, her tow vehicle, she said, “is a bit long in the tooth, and it’s been somewhat unreliable recently. I’ve been wondering how on earth I’d afford a new one – now I don’t have to worry at all.”
Heather’s daughter was in her final year at school last year, so Heather’s horse went on holiday to a friend’s property near Bathurst so Mum could concentrate on her daughter’s schooling. “I’m going to get my mare as soon as it’s a bit less hot,” she said, “and then I’ll be able to float her around in style.”
How wonderful the prize is going to someone who will get so much use from it. Heather has promised us photos of the Hilux, and the float once Olympic have made and delivered it.
Congratulations Heather from the Committee and all of us at SAHA.
The photo is of Heather competing at Sydney Royal on Maybah Chance in 2009 is by Narelle Wockner.
And for our most recent horse update, we’ve adopted out two horses in February, our beautiful mares Bling and London, which brings the number back down to 100 – for just a few days before our next rescue arrives!
NOT ONLY BUT ALSO we have some big news soon so watch out for another email coming in the next few days.
Thank you all for your continued support – we can’t do without you!
Candida Baker, President
As you all know, on Australia Day this year, we rescued our first horse for the year, our beautiful Cobber. A horse who has obviously been looked after for most of his life because he is so calm and quiet, and loves people so much. He wasn’t much of a racehorse, our Cobber – he only won $1800 in prize money, but that probably meant he ended up for sometime in a good home. So how did he end up emaciated? In the dogger pens? Facing his end? What is his story? We will probably never know how such a lovely horse ended up facing a lonely end. He was rescued from the pens by a good samaratin who then realised that bringing an emaciated horse back from the brink takes a lot of work, and surrendered the beautiful boy to us.
So how do Cobber and Chantilly’s stories connect?
Chantilly was surrendered to us after her mother rejected her at birth. She was taken immediately to Gold Coast Equine for tests, and it was discovered her IGg levels were low and she was given two plasma transfusions. She was drinking well and was bright and alert and taken home to the Gold Coast Sanctuary where Jennifer Malloch looked after the little baby girl. Chantilly learned to drink from a bucket very quickly and thrived! Her front legs were a little bent and she had a large hernia, so she was taken to UQ Vet Hospital for surgery. The hernia was corrected and she had strip surgery for Carpal Vargas, which was a minor operation that was completely successful. However, she then had a growth spurt which caused some further issues. So she was turned out to grow and get strong, and most recently to come to me for some training.
But here’s the thing – this March Chantilly has been with us for three years. And even though fundraisers bring us in emergency rescue money what perhaps is not quite obvious is the ongoing costs. In the three years Chantilly has been with SAHA she will have cost us conservatively $12,000 when we take into account her vet bills and surgery to start her off on her life.
Was it worth it? You bet! Look at the lovely girl she is now – I’m lucky enough to have her at a property near me in the Northern Rivers, and we are now working with Callum Snell, who has trained horses for Cavalia, to start Chantilly under saddle. When Chantilly is adopted to her new home, someone will get a beautiful, young, unspoiled pony to take to the next level. We will hope that it will be her forever home, but we know too, that if for some reason she needs to come back into care, she will be a SAHA horse forever. She will give some lucky person as much pleasure as she has given us as we have watched her grow from the early days of her care by the wonderful Jen, to now, as she is beginning to come into her own as a young horse in great condition.
And now we have Cobber – he is at the start of what will be at least a year with us, while he puts on weight, and muscle, and recovers from his emaciation. He will need immense care while we gradually reintroduce proper feeds to him. Then there will be his re-training, and months of work to get him strong again, before we can even consider finding him a home. All of this costs money. Especially for a big horse – we estimate, with all feed, farrier and costs such as dental and vaccinations, on $150 per week. Although the initial costs are covered by our fundraisers, very often we fall behind because we have 100 horses in care, and some of them have minimal sponsors to help us carry their ongoing costs.
Some people might say – why rescue an emaciated 18-year-old horse? I would say – this horse deserves every chance, after he has so obviously given his love and effort for so much of his life, to be in a great home. You can see the gratitude in every cuddle he gives, and in his friendly head-butts. He knows he has been rescued, he knows he’s safe, he knows he’s loved.
If we could, we would create a world where safety, love and proper care would be the right for every horse (and needless to say for every person and animal on the planet), but all we horse-lovers can practically do is our bit, and our bit is to rescue when we can – responsibly, and with your help.
One thing we also desperately need for 2018 is regular donations. Every regular donation helps us more than we can say because it’s only through them that we can budget. Setting up even $10 per month is so helpful for us and helps us with our ongoing costs.
As you know for the past year SAHA has been committed to downsizing and to containing our costs, and we have done a great job, BUT we all desperately want to rescue again regularly. It’s where our hearts are – it’s why we all got involved in rescuing horses, both personally and through SAHA. I know that for all of us there have been heart-breaking moments during this last year where we haven’t been able to open our doors to a horse in need, and I know that we have spent nights awake and many tears wishing that things could be different. Well, the dawn is almost here – but we need your help to usher it in! We know of several horses that we would like to bring in BUT we don’t want to commit unless we know we have some funds to cover not just the rescues but also some of our ongoing costs.
Michelle, myself, Rachel and other staff and Committee members bring decades of experience of horse ownership and rescue to our commitment to SAHA. And to rescue is what we live for.
Can you help us help unwanted horses and ponies find a new and better life?
As soon as we can raise the funds we have the list, and we will be out there. We promise!
So please can we ask you to dig deep once more, to find it in your hearts to help us so we can rescue again. Help us continue our journey with Chantilly, and start our journey with Cobber. Help us continue to support the horses who are with us forever, and those who will pass through us on their way to becoming part of a healthy, happy horse community – with the knowledge that we are ALWAYS here for them.
To donate to our rescue cause click here
or SMS the keyword RESCUE to 0459 114 411 to donate $5 or more fast and easy.
Candida Baker, President
Our beautiful Remi – who came back into care in December was quickly re-adopted to a wonderful home in Northern New South Wales with a very experienced horsewoman who will be able to bring out his full potential. He settled in quickly and is very happy.
THEN – oh my goodness – there was hardly a dry eye in the house when six of our Tarampa companion horses were adopted to three different people. Jag and Melody going to their forever home, Mac and Honey to theirs and Dakota and Miss Hanky Panky to theirs. What an amazing result. For those of you who might not have read the story on FB, the people who have adopted Mac who have a lot of experience with Warmbloods, were only wanting him, but when they came to collect him, Honey and Mac were calling out to each other so much that they adopted Honey then and there on the spot! What a wonderful story. Thank you so much to our adoptees for taking a horse, plus a friend – what better result could there be for one of our companion horses than to have a companion?
~ Michelle here ~It has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster over the last couple of days as we farewelled six of our beautiful horses from our Tarampa Sanctuary into their forever homes. We were so fortunate that three wonderful homes applied to adopt two horses each so it was lovely that best friends Jag and Melody and then Mac and Honey were adopted out together and Dakota and Miss Hanky Panky have gone to live together as well.Well done to Colleen, Carrissa and our Tarampa volunteers for getting through the last couple of days, it is a very emotional time saying farewell even when our special horses are going to such beautiful homes. As "they" say, a picture paints a thousand words so please enjoy this clip that the Tarampa staff put together and remember ……only happy tears when you watch it!!!
Posted by Save a Horse Australia on Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Thank you Colleen for this wonderful video of our ‘couples’ waving a hoof goodbye…
So this brings the total of horses in our care down to 99, which includes our tiny mini-horse rescue, Bowie, who has been stealing hearts ever since he arrived at Rachel’s place. It was a rescue done in conjuction with Red Collar Rescue, and it was a great result for the little fellow who was due to be put to sleep on the Friday before Christmas. Now, he’s gelded and had some lessons in horse manners (!), and is learning to fit in with a family and friends at Rachel’s place before we decide whether his future will lie in being adopted or possibly as one of our therapy horses.
Talking of therapy horses, little Milo and Charming put their best hooves forward for their first nursing home visit, and they are part of our vision for this year as we move into some wonderful therapy programs with our horses and staff.
We know that many of our horses are not adoptable and so for them to have a purpose in life is a great thing, and something we all feely strongly about – as we do also about finding homes for our adoptable horses, either as ridden horses or as companions, before we expand our rescues again. It’s so important that the Charity is sustainable and that the horses that can have loving forever homes, are placed with people who will look after them to the same degree we do. We will still rescue but our first committment is to the horses who are already SAHA horses.
On not quite such a cheerful note over the Festive Season our horses managed to rack up a lot of vet bills and injuries! So our big January fundraiser is to ask you please if you can help us – and even just a little makes a difference – so we can get some of our urgent vet bills down.
To be honest it’s been a tough four weeks. To start with our darling little Bowie needed some post-operative care for his gelding due to the extreme heat and his travelling, Zedpak hurt his eye, Eila has had ongoing issues with her haemotama, Tiger got a leg puncture – and due to his windsucking has terrible teeth so needs ongoing expensive dental care; Charming needed his eye checked and Duncan managed to rip his chest open!
On top of that at the beginning of the year many of our horses fall due for their dentals – we have 23 horses due for dentals, as well as a raft of 2 in 1’s and Hendras coming up!!
Sometimes it feels as if we are in charge of a massive nursery of unruly accident-prone children. But we LOVE them all, and we know you do too.
So please, if you can, think about a small donation for us for our vet bills.
To donate to our vet fundraiser please go to –> saveahorse.giveeasy.org/campaigns/9000
or SMS the keyword URGENT to 0459 114 411 to donate $5 or more fast and easy.
Thank you so much for all of your support!
We will keep you all updated on all the exciting programs that are currently in the works.
Candida Baker, President
I think it would be fair to say that it’s been an eventful year. We’ve survived several floods, droughts, several bouts of severe colic and expensive hospitalizations, the unexpected arrival of Pickles our surprise foal, the tragic death of Desiree, his mother, and a steady stream of SAHA horses coming back into care. This, of course, is the beauty of a SAHA lifetime adoption contract, but at the same time with only 50 acres between our two sanctuaries it hasn’t always been easy to fit them all in.
The fact is that a charity survives on donations and boy, have you guys donated this year, allowing us to continue our high-level of care for our now 105 horses in care, and to plan for some wonderful expansion into therapy programs next year which we will be announcing very soon. You guys all saw a tiny taster with the visit of our minis, Milo and Charming to a nursing home, which went off SO well and we have many more planned for our little mascots.
Our minis are a very good example of our work because they were both rescued with terrible hooves, and although we have gradually rehabilitated them, they do have permanent changes to their pedal bones, and therefore they are not adoptable. We decided that it was very important for them to have a ‘job’ – as it is for all horses in my opinion – even if the ‘job’ is being a companion, and so they will help us spread the word of SAHA far and wide, and bring people a lot of joy as they do so.
Joy. It is the season to be merry, and we are enormously grateful to still be here. We have adopted out 31 horses since March – almost one a week which is amazing, and although a few of our lovely old ones have crossed the rainbow bridge (to be always remembered on our website) we are very lucky that our horses – thanks to you guys – stay in such amazing health.
I would like to thank you personally and on behalf of the Committee and staff for digging deep over and over (and over and over) again for us. We have a few large feedbills including one with our lovely Goodna produce who are so supportive of us, and we are truly desperate to get it down for them before the New Year. Can you spare just a small donation from your Christmas food fund to help us feed our hungry horses?
It’s hard for anyone to imagine the size of our feed bills – a bale of hay at approximately $10 -13 per bale feeds 2-3 horses per day, and we have 105 horses in care, which is a staggering $350 PER DAY or $2,450 per week. On top of that we go through 40 bags of hard feed a week at approximately $22 a bag at each sanctuary, which is $1800 per week – so our feed bills, before we start with supplements or joint formulas or any of the specific feeds we need for high-maintenance horses is in the region of $4,250 per week!!
All it takes is for us not to be able to pay our full feed bills for three or four weeks, and suddenly it’s looking massive.
Not unnaturally Christmas is our most difficult time of year – a lot of people are away, and our donations drop. We often find it difficult to make ends meet.
Just look at the amazing photos of our beautiful old man Caddie – he was so skinny and emaciated and he is now well and happy – that is what your donations do for us!
CAN YOU HELP US this Christmas so we can face the New Year with a lovely clean slate?
Thank you so much for everything you do for our lovely rescue horses. We hope you all have a wonderful, safe, peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year.
Candida Baker, President
It seems so long ago now, but just like any month with Save a Horse Australia, it was full of triumph and tribulation! It started with a bang with our beautiful old boy Moonshine suddenly coming down with colic. Moonshine was rushed to West Vets where he was admitted to intensive care for 24 hours, and treated for another four days. We are SO lucky to have such amazing supporters because his care was not cheap, and it was covered by a Moonshine Fundraiser. Also, to be honest, he was not the best-behaved patient on the planet according to the vets, but they rather took to his curmudgeonly personality, and once he was back with his friends in their luxury retirement paddock at Buccan, he was back to his old cheerful self.
It’s a funny thing about horses and vet treatment. Some horses seem to intuitively understand that you’re trying to help them – I’ve known horses be completely quiet and still through quite unpleasant procedures, just looking to their human for comfort, but then others, either perhaps because of trauma or abuse in the past, or even perhaps occasionally with a low-pain threshold can kick up a fuss at even the tiniest thing. What? Remove a thistle from my delicate nostril? You must be kidding? That is really scary!!!!
Then there was the rain again. It thundered down and washed away and turned our only-just-recovering paddocks into mud once more. With horses upturning buckets and eating feed straight out of the mud we did our horse feeder fundraiser, and wow did that produce some conversation on the Facebook page! But we love to see engagement, and ideas, and we loved it even more when Magnum Equine saw what we were doing and came to our help. The end result is that we raised enough money to buy 30 feeders at Magnum’s discounted price, and they also gave us an extra five for free. Watch this space for photos once the feeders – which are on their way to us – arrive. No more games for the naughty horses such as pretty and lively Mariah for instance, who likes to casually throw her feedbucket around.
Due to the rain, and our new Operations Manager, the wonderful Michelle Beatty settling into her role, we didn’t adopt out any horses in October, but Indiana’s owner had a chance of circumstance and this beautiful little riding horse came back to us, as well as companion horses Mac, London and Honey-Megs. It’s not easy to reduce numbers when horses return but this is the point of the SAHA contract – if people are no longer able to keep horses for one reason or another they come back to us and we can find them another beautiful home. At the time of writing this report we currently have 109 horses in care (including little Pickles).
It was SAHA’s personal End of Financial Year, and we ran a fundraiser which unfortunately did fall very short of the somewhat ambitious target we’d set BUT with the publication on social media of our latest promotional video we saw an extraordinary increase in the amount of likes, and followers on our Facebook page, and some great new donators and supporters coming on board which was very gratifying. As you all know we are so grateful for the fundraising support, but when we get new regular donations and sponsorship for horses, this is what really helps us to budget.
In conjunction with our EOFY it was a great time to re-think strategies for SAHA, and at the moment we are coming up with a strategic plan to see us through the next phase of growth, as we commence some wonderful ground-work based programs, a publication division, and offer more corporate partnerships so that we can work with people to become known as an advocate for horse welfare around Australia.
So we have to sneak into November, because as most of you would know, SAHA got an early and unexpected Christmas present when our lovely mare Desiree dropped a foal – a lovely chestnut colt – in the early morning hours of Thursday November 2. We had been told by the vet clinic that Desiree had miscarried and so beyond remarking that she seemed to be somewhat, shall we say, plump, we didn’t think she could possibly be pregnant. Also she wore it well, and because of the extremely erratic weather she had a summer combo on. So all in all, she was lucky, and we were lucky – the little fellow was born without incident and is blossoming at the Buccan sanctuary.
And what a game we had with his name! Our wonderful stable-hand Kasey and our rider Jess, were the lucky two to find him, and Kasey was determined he should be called Pickles. We put his name up for auction, and we’re not sure how long it will take Kasey’s family to recover from the bidding war that ensued, but in the end Pickles won the day. Although we have persuaded her that when he grows up Mr. Pickles might be a better name!
But it was a day of mixed emotions because it was also the day that we had decided to finally put our beautiful appaloosa, Texas to sleep. Texas had been fighting a battle with his tumours, and when they began to break out on his legs, just at the point of his joints, the vet’s advice was that it was much kinder to put our darling boy to sleep. He spent his last day grazing in the garden, and eating a huge bag of carrots! Run free sweet man…
Getting back to Christmas and the end of the year beckoning – DON’T FORGET our calendar and our raffle! They make great Christmas gifts!
Our calendar, which has the most beautiful photographs by Byron Bay based photographer Heidi Flumm, is available through our shop here.
And what could be better to buy for your horse-obsessed loved one than tickets in our massive Olympic Float Toyota HiLux raffle, which will be drawn on – wait for it – Valentine’s Day. So buy your love (or even get your love to buy you) a Christmas Present that will hopefully produce you the winning ticket for February 14. The prize is valued at over $80,000! You can get your tickets by clicking here.
Michelle has had a lifelong connection with horses, first growing up in New Zealand, and later training and competing her own horses. After a career in the corporate world her love of horses led her to volunteering with the McIntyre Centre, Riding for Disabled in Brisbane. The McIntyre Centre, the largest independent RDA in Australia, provides over 4000 therapeutic horse-riding lessons to children and young adults with disabilities annually.
It wasn’t long before Michelle’s talent for organisation and her commitment to horses was spotted. Starting fulltime with the Centre in 2010 as part of the management team, initially in business development, in 2014 she was appointed Operations Manager, overseeing riding Instructors, and stable hands and 100-plus volunteers – as well as being responsible for the herd of up to 40 horses.
With her background in corporate business as well, Michelle was responsible for the Operations Safety and Risk Management, Bio security and was able to introduce a much needed Horse Database (very exciting news to our Administration Manager).
“My whole life has been and is about horses,” Michelle says, pictured here with Santa out at Tarampa. “I own nine horses and five of them are over 30. I also have a daughter who is mad on all things equestrian so many weekends are spent going to competitions and travelling around the countryside competing.”
Based up in the Lockyer Valley, Michelle will divide her time between the two sanctuaries – and I know that we are all looking forward to having her with us.
This is more an update than a report due to being away for the whole of September, having something called a ‘holiday’, the memory of which has faded into the dim and distant past all too quickly!
In September our lovely boy Sunny was surrendered to us with what turned out to be a large cancerous growth on his flank. It’s since been removed and is healing nicely, and we are hoping to assess him under saddle soon. Tyke, Ace, Gangster, Bigalow and our funny favourite quacking horse, Duck were all adopted, but Ellie-May came back into care. We’ll do a full October report at the end of this month, which will also be the end of our financial year.
For your interest, and so you can see the amazing work that we can do with our fundraisers behind us, here are three pictures of Sunny’s lump, the removal and the healing:
It’s this kind of rescue work that your support enables us to keep on doing and Sunny will go on to a bright, sunny future we are sure. To support our rescue horses, even with a small regular donation or sponsorship, is what keeps us going. To learn more go to our website: saveahorse.org.au
In other news our new promotional video and our new calendar are almost ready and we are very proud of both of them, and in the meantime don’t forget to buy your horse-obsessed loved one a raffle ticket in our biggest ever raffle and be in the draw to win a Toyota Hilux and an Olympic Royal horsefloat. Or better still, point out to your loved one that they should buy YOU a raffle ticket! Click here to get your tickets.
Candida Baker, President
Firstly, apologies for the lateness of the August report but I left for overseas towards the end of the month, and I had a very special reason for wanting to wait until I wrote this.
It’s a selfish reason – because it’s a personal story, not a SAHA story – but it is, of course, to do with horses.
Like many horse-mad people I seemed to have been beamed down into this lifetime loving horses. As a little girl I thought and dreamed of nothing else really (except perhaps The Beatles).
In 1958, when I was three-years-old, my father went to the Camargue region of France, where the-then wild herds of horses roamed, and brought me back a black and white book of photographs, which were stills from the 1953 movie, Crin Blanc. Crin Blanc, which literally translates as White Mane, was the story of a little boy who befriends a wild white stallion, and after a pretty tough journey together the pair of them ride off into the sea, disappearing from sight forever.
My father didn’t speak French, but he knew the story from the film and would tell it to me in English, and I would gaze at the white horses in the photos and be overawed with their beauty – not to mention shedding a few tears at the storyline.
Well, it’s taken me almost sixty years, and a sister’s significant decade birthday (my sister lives in France) to tick this item off my bucket list, but yesterday I went out for two hours with the owner of a trail-riding establishment based in the middle of the Camargue. And thanks to the fact that many years ago I spent a year working with horses in France, my French was sufficient for me to understand and speak with Patrick about the Camargue horses and their way of life.
It’s sad but true that these days there are no ‘wild’ horses left in the Camargue where once-yearly round-ups used to take place, but proper breeding controls introduced in the 60’s and only a select amount of breeding licenses has meant that the pure Camargue lines are safe.
But, and it’s a wonderful but, the horses are still very much in a sense semi-wild. When they are not working, either with the famous bulls of the Camargue, or trail-riding, or giving displays, they are out in the hundreds of acres that each ‘ranch’ occupies, living in the marshy wetlands, on what looks like, to an Australian eye, virtually inedible long marshy stalks – and all I might say, as fat and happy as pigs in mud.
The Camargue horse is one of the most ancient breeds in the world, and it’s indigenous to the Camargue area in southern France. Historians believe that the horses are descended from the Solutré horse – the Equus Caballus Gallicus – which was hunted for its meat during the Paleolithic period a mere 40,000 years ago. Stockier than the other main wild horse strain that had travelled from Mongolia, the Camargue horses are still small today – usually between 13.2hh to 15.3hh. They have a short neck, deep chest, a compact strong body, and almost wavy manes and tails. They are absolutely without exception, grey horses, so although they are known as white, they have black skin under their white hair. They are usually born black, sometimes dark bay, or even roan, but by the time they are five or so, they are almost completely white.
So what was it like riding one? Well, my guide, Patrick, was on one of his own horses – a Portuguese Lusitano cross Camargue that he is training for bull work, and I was on Tato, a classic Camargue horse – probably 14.2hh, sturdy with a broad but not high wither. “We ride Western style,” Patrick told me, as I hopped aboard and settled myself in the saddle – which was not dissimilar to a stock saddle but with the open mesh iron stirrups designed to keep any foot in! The trail saddles are derived from the actual Camargue Saddles which are designed to hold a rider in place even when using high-speed turns to chase bulls, and I found it amazingly comfortable. Whereas (for me at least) I’ve always found that to be comfy in a stock saddle I need to put my legs forward, in this saddle my leg rested perfectly in line with my hip and shoulder, and Tato needed only the slightest touch of the reins to go or whoah.
“He loves his work,” Patrick said, as we headed off at a brisk trot, and indeed he did. He was free-moving rather than forward, and I got a feeling of a deep intelligence – where Patrick’s somewhat flighty young one was busy dancing everywhere, Tato had seen it all before which was reassuring.
As we rode, we talked. Patrick also reassured me on the matter of the famous bulls of the Camargue – they are not, as they are in Spain, killed in the bull ‘work’ which is what they call it, rather than fighting. Instead the ‘guardian’, (i.e. rider) must manage to lift off two white strings attached to each of the bull’s horns. It’s a game of deft skill and swiftness as I saw the following night, but then the bulls – and the horses – are let go once more in the marshy wetlands to roam and graze. Of course not to get too romantic, the bulls are also used extensively for meat, but that’s a reality everywhere, but for me it was good to know the ‘travail du taureau’ – literally ‘work of the bull’, did not mean a bloody end.
Horse people might ask how on earth the horses stay fat and healthy with NO hoof problems living virtually permanently in a marshy wetland. It seems as if over the centuries, or in fact over the thousands of years they have been living there the horses have developed certain characteristics – broad hooves with large, wide soles, relatively long legs for their stature with broad knees and hocks. The grasses of the Camargue are actually full of nourishment, watered as they are by the sweet river water of the Rhône, and we passed herds of horses nibbling not just on the long grass but even on seemingly prickly unappetising bushes.
As we walked along, alternately trotting, cantering or even galloping along the sandy tracks, picking our way through the marshes, and splashing through the inevitable small lagoons here and there, Patrick showed me the herds of the mares with their foals – plus, he pointed out, an old gelding who’d retired from his work to live out his days in a “family situation”.
The work horses work only between April and October and are otherwise left free to graze and wander. The sheer space available to them all seems to make the in-fighting minimal, although I noticed that another attribute of the Camargue horses seems to be a very thick skin! They take virtually no notice of the flies and the odd bite or kick seems hardly to penetrate.
“They hardly ever need vet attention,” Patrick told me cheerfully, while I rather wished that the SAHA horses could be so hardy! “Some horses might go their whole lives never needing a vet.”
When we came upon the herds of black bulls, they were unconcerned by the horses, although because many of them were in fact cows with calves we didn’t venture too deep into the herds in order not to upset them. All of them too, were in magnificent condition. “I think here in the Camargue we might even love our bulls more than our horses,” Patrick told me, but I’m not at all sure about that, I think he was winding me up.
To say it was a magical morning would be an understatement, and as well as the horses and bulls, we saw giant egrets, wild ducks, and even an otter in the river.
Galloping along on little Tato, whose paces were small but quick, I breathed in deeply. I was in a bucket list moment, and I wasn’t going to forget it in a hurry for sure.
So now back to more prosaic August news for SAHA:
Of course you will have seen that we’ve launched our amazing new raffle with another wonderful Olympic Royal horse float and a Toyota Hilux up for grabs. This is the ultimate in comfortable float and tow packages, and you have to be in it to win it, as they say, so click here to grab your tickets.
The winner of our August cash raffle was Bernie Dousi, who has received her winnings of $10,000 and is talking about a trip to Portugal next year. Congratulations to Bernie and thank you for supporting SAHA.
In August we adopted out Alonzo – and that was such a pleasure because as you might know, Alonzo was a very particular horse, so to match him with a family was not an easy task for Jess (our rider) and Helen, but they’ve done brilliantly and Alonzo is very happy. Madonna and Tasha, too are both big-moving mares who have gone to experienced horse people, and we have more adoptions coming up. Ryley came back into care, and we weren’t able to resist the lovely Sunny – and I’ll give you all the details for him next month. Click here for his new page.
As you know our darling little chap Charming, had to have an eye removed. The operation went extremely well, but he is also requiring some more treatment on the other eye, and we are keeping our fingers – and toes – seriously crossed. Charming is back at Buccan at the moment where we can keep a close eye on him.
You guys, our supporters, have been wonderful during August, not just supporting our raffles but also our weekly fundraisers for particular horses and for our general vet and dental bills. It’s these little fundraisers that make all the difference because then we aren’t adding to the pressure of the massive feed and care bills, and the costs of running the sanctuaries. So once more, thank you – and I hope you enjoy this report which I’m writing sitting in an old French farmhouse, just on the edge of the Camargue.
Candida Baker, President