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
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
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
As usual, May was a massive month here at Save a Horse Australia. We adopted out four horses – Scout, Pandora, Remi and Otis – which is a wonderful result. As well, Noelle left for her new home, and in the first few days of June, Jaylet and our wonderfully exuberant buckskin, Muz, left us for their homes.
This means that currently we have 109 horses in care between what are now our two sanctuaries at Buccan and Tarampa. Unfortunately for SAHA our rental property at Minden was sold and the new owners decided to live there. We made the decision that continuing to downsize for the moment and to re-home as many of the horses as we have that we can before we rescue again was the way to go, and so we had to say a sad goodbye to Minden, with special thanks to Lori and Phil for managing the sanctuary, Carissa for being our stablehand and to all the volunteers who worked above and beyond for SAHA.
A few people have asked us recently about adoptions – why it sometimes doesn’t work out, or even, with a difficult horse, why it does, and also how do we choose someone to adopt a horse. Helen Hayes, our Operations Manager, is also our Adoption Manager and over the years Helen has built up a lot of experience. She’s able to see quite quickly if a horse and a human are going to make a good pair, but even then it’s not an exact science – unfortunately, particularly as Helen says, you’re talking about horses who often have a high-level of trauma.
“The process we go through with each horse of gradually rehabilitating it so that it’s easy to handle on the ground is very important,” Helen says. “Once we’ve got that established and we’ve had the horse or pony fully assessed physically then we can start with moving towards having the horse assessed for riding. Depending on whether the horse has been started under saddle or not it will either go to the trainer, or if we’re confident that it’s fairly quiet, our rider, Jess, will start to ride it. Once Jess is riding the horse regularly and we see how it goes with the work that we give it, then we can start thinking about adopting it out, but depending on the horse and whether it’s come in with a physical injury or psychological trauma, it can take anything from as little as a month or two to as long as a year or two!”
SAHA has a very high success rates for its adoptions, but every now and then it doesn’t work out, and if it doesn’t then the horse comes straight back to us and we can reassess the situation. Of course what our supporters do allows us to give all our horses the time they need and it’s one of the million reasons we are so constantly grateful. Taking a horse through its rehabilitation from the time they arrive at SAHA to the time they leave for what we hope will be their ‘forever’ home takes infinite amounts of time, patience and attention.
Of all those qualities, perhaps ‘attention’ is the one that is the least understood, because it is a quality that is only gained over decades or a lifetime experience with horses. It’s when, as a ‘horse’ person you begin to read every nuance of their behaviour, and to speak their physical language. The fact is that horses are as varied in their characters as humans – from chilled-out, laid-back souls who take most things in their stride, to highly-strung, complex personalities who need extra TLC on an ongoing basis. Over the past 57 years of my lifetime, since my first naughty little pony at the age of five, it’s been my privilege to be involved with hundreds – possibly even thousands – of different horses, and one of the most wonderful aspects of working with SAHA is being involved with an organisation dedicated to allowing horses to take the time it takes to heal.
So how do you know what a horse might be, or become good at – or even want to do? Well, the old adage that you can take a horse to water but not make it drink is certainly true here. I once knew an eventer in France who had to travel his retired eventing horse with him to competitions because the horse hated being left home so much he would get himself into a lather. My friend would take him, and give him a little ride because, as he said, “he wants to think he’s still useful and he always loved it so much,” and the horse would be happy. He officially retired at 20, and spent another 10 years not realising he was retired!
Older horses are in many respects like older humans, they have a wealth of knowledge and often a love for their humans, and they like to be useful. My old horse was the ultimate teacher for young horses, guiding them through water for the first time, along busy roads, past dogs and rubbish bins and noisy scary flapping things. Even after he retired from riding I would walk him out with the young ones, and I am absolutely sure he knew he was ‘teaching’ them.
In the end, it’s not even really what a horse does – it’s who the horse does whatever it does with, and how. There are wonderful horse owners in every discipline, and sadly there are also horse owners in every discipline who are not so wonderful. Although at SAHA it’s not our job to necessarily take a horse to the point where we uncover its full potential as a riding horse, or even as a horse with groundwork or therapy potential, it is our job to know that when they leave us they are going to the right person, with the right skills, so they have the best possible chance for a great life. Mostly we get it right, occasionally we get it wrong, and when we do I’m happy to say that those adopters often adopt another horse successfully and the one they’ve given back to us goes on to find its perfect home.
In the meantime it’s business as usual at SAHA. We still have our wonderful raffles up and running so don’t forget if you’re after a Horseland saddle package or an Olympic Royal float, we still have tickets left for both. (With huge thanks to Horseland and Olympic Trailers for their continued support of SAHA).
Candida Baker – President
Now, mothering is itself, particularly in these days of non-traditional families, a bit of a flexible notion, and for me Mother’s Day is an honouring, not just of our literal mothers, but of everybody in the world who ‘mothers’ in whatever shape or form. Of course this extends out beyond human mothering as well, to the unconditional love that warm-blooded mammals offer to their young, and even, sometimes, to different species or to offspring not their own.
I would like to honour some very special mothers today – the first of those being Amanda Vella, the powerful and extraordinary woman whose vision of ‘helping’ horses began when she was as young as five-years-old. Her lifelong commitment, passion and dedication saw, as we all know, the establishment of Save a Horse Australia, which has been responsible for saving 1500 horse lives. Amanda, and our wonderful foster-carer Jennifer Malloch, a mother and now grand-mother herself, who has nurtured many of SAHA’s babies, have rescued and rehabilitated so many horses that being a ‘mother’ to the horses is really the only correct way to describe the continuous commitment Amanda and Jen have to the importance of horse lives and the value they have placed on those horses who would otherwise have been discarded and lost.
One of the more contentious issues in horse rescue is, of course, the question of horse racing. But often the dark side of racing, the wastage, the break-downs and the lack of post-race career options for horses, is balanced by the most extraordinary people – trainers, owners, jockeys and strappers – who endeavour to do their very best by their horses.
One of those women is long-time dedicated SAHA supporter, Karin McNab, whose careful nurturing of her young ones has meant that her most recent winning mare, Thieving Minx, had only had three starts by the age of four, and a win just a few weeks ago. Not only does Karin make sure that all her horses retire to wonderful homes when they have finished their race careers, but her winnings are donated to horse charities, with SAHA often being a lucky recipient.
“Thieving Minx has already helped save four other horses,” Karin told me recently, “and for me to able to look after, nuture and gently bring along my horses and then have them help save other horses is a wonderful circle of life.”
In the best of all possible worlds, with tighter breeding regulations, and racing itself paying for post racing care, we would see many more beautiful off the track thoroughbreds re-homed, and many less with a one-way ticket to the saleyards. My son and I have personally rehabilitated six off the track horses, several of which were rescues, and he continues that work today. When another career manifests for these magnificent animals, you see them in all forms of equestrian disciplines, living lives as everything from pleasure or trail-riding horses, to competing in the Olympics. We are very lucky to have supporters like Karin, who are also active in the racing welfare movement, which is obviously something about which SAHA cares deeply.
For many of the mares, particularly the successful ones, motherhood beckons, but sometimes, as with our beautiful Pluto, that journey can go wrong, and Pluto who had retired from racing to become a broodmare, lost her foal, just at the same time that little Memphis, a baby Clydesdale who could not feed from his mother, came into SAHA’s care. Memphis had to have blood transfusions, and began to successfully drink from a bucket, and even though he was unable to feed from Pluto, she became his foster ‘mum’. Later once Memphis was older, she took on the job of ‘nanny’ mare again, with the lovely Freddie, also now successfully adopted. At this time Pluto and Rupert are just beginning a friendship, so that the horse ‘mum’, can teach the baby horse his manners.
What I’ve discovered over a lifetime with horses is that often there is a strange synchronicity attached to the outcomes of rescues and rehabilitation, and that it seems to me that even the horses themselves can be involved in some universal level on creating an outcome for themselves. (Watch the wonderful Harry and the Snowman if you are in any doubt about that.)
Well, recently such synchronicity happened with Pluto and our very first official corporate sponsor, Mystic Medusa. Mystic, known to me for many years, wanted to sponsor a horse – but a horse with an, if you like, inter-galactic twist! Enter Pluto, whose race-name was Cosmic Wanderer. A perfect pairing if ever there was one, and so we are delighted to welcome Mystic to the SAHA family. No doubt she’ll be keeping a close eye out on Pluto’s planetary alignments. You can read about Mystic here: https://mysticmedusa.com/2017/05/horse-named-pluto/
In a way what I saw in this was once more different ways of mothering – from horse to human, from Jen Malloch’s hand-on day-to-day care of horses, to a universal notion of support for our beloved four-legged friends, because, of course, financial support as all of you know is the life-blood of any charity.
(In fact what I see now from my connection with SAHA is mothering of the horses, of the charity of each other, happening every day, and I would like to personally say a huge thank-you to Rachel Daniels, Helen Hayes and Amanda Arnell-Smith – and to all our wonderful staff, foster carers, and volunteers for their commitment to SAHA and the horses.)
To talk, just for a minute of my personal journey with learning about horse mothering – one of the greatest moments of my life was watching my beautiful Palomino mare give birth to her paint foal. It was quick, and easy and uncomplicated. He was born in November, (a little Sagittarius) between some massive electrical storms, and so as soon as his four little hooves were on the ground, he was named – Storm. Within 10 minutes he was staggering around, getting his first cuddles from my young daughter and her friend and drinking from his Mum who took it all in her placid Quarter Horse stride, while his older half-sister looked on over the fence with great interest. Watching Stormy grow, teaching him to lead, to float, to lunge, to take a saddle and bridle, to starting him ourselves, and finding him a brilliant home, was a deeply personal horse journey for me that I will never forget. Glimmer’s care of her baby was an unfolding delight, and the way she combined love with gentle correction, a stellar example of mothering.
Of course, there’s our human children too – whether they are our personal children, or step-children, or other people’s children. It really doesn’t matter. I love these words Karin McNab posted recently (and if someone can find their source I’d be interested to know):
What do I want for Mother’s Day? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your kids around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your kids, your fur babies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to me.
I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my work.
Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I want you to spend your money making a better life for you and your family, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day, I say “nothing” because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year. I want you.
Although to be brutally honest, I wouldn’t mind the occasional gift as well! Maybe a Horseland voucher 🙂
Which also reminds me – don’t forget to enter our wonderful raffle with prizes donated by Horseland Underwood. saveahorse.org.au/event/horseland-raffle/
At the moment we are also running an urgent fundraiser to keep us on top of the massive costs of caring for 115 horses, running three sanctuaries (two from the end of May), paying staff and looking after our equipment and machinery. If you’d like to donate to this week’s fundraiser this is the link:
or you can SMS donations. To donate $5 or more simply text the word HELP to 0459 114411
In the meantime, whatever mothering means to you please do have a wonderful day.
If you are interested in coming on board with us as a corporate sponsor, to have your logo on our website and be advertised on our Facebook page, please contact us on email@example.com and we will be happy to help you help the horses!
Candida Baker – President
Most of you will know that we’ve had various horse stories unfold – beautiful Gabby, who was adopted by Annette and Georgia, had to have surgery on a sesamoid bone and is recovering very well at EEVS. Danina, who lost her two mini-ponies in the flood, has finally got her TB Archie – who was injured in the flood – back from the vets, and new flesh is growing over his wound which was right to the bone. (Excuse the somewhat graphic image, but in a few weeks we will run a photo-essay of the spectacular mending that is taking place at the moment.)
As for us, well, we are not supposed to be taking new horses at the moment but when Helen Hayes, our Manager, was alerted to the plight of little Charming, a 9hh Shetland, with the sweetest nature, and hooves so long he could hardly walk, we couldn’t resist. We tried to tell Amanda Arnell-Smith, our Admin Officer, that he is VERY small, and wouldn’t take up much space – in fact, we thought that she might not notice him at all, but unfortunately she is absolutely insisting on counting him in the numbers! I asked if perhaps he and Milo could make a whole horse, but no, I was told sternly, Charming is apparently one horse, however small.
So in terms of numbers at the moment, we adopted out two in April, Zephyr and Puzzle, and we currently have 115 horses in care. We do have more adoptions pending, and we are currently very happy with how all the SAHA horses are travelling.
We are also thrilled to bring you the news that we have two exciting raffles in the works. First up is our fantastic prize package from Horseland Underwood consisting of:
A beautiful Wintec saddle of your choice in the Wintec range with a value of up to $2,000 – including a WINTEC ISABELL SADDLE WITH ADJUSTABLE BAR & CAIR Iii or a WINTEC STOCK, DRESSAGE or ALL PURPOSE. Any colour, any size. Amazing choice!
From the new ‘Roma’ range:
Roma saddle pad, float boots, head collar and lead rope.
Your choice of colour and size.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Vanessa, Manager of Horseland Underwood for such a generous prize. The raffle will be drawn by live video on the SAHA page at Horseland Underwood on Sunday the 4th June at 2pm. Only $5.00 a ticket, with 2570 tickets available. Note tickets are available for purchase by residents of Qld, NSW and ACT only. Click here for all the details and to buy tickets: https://saveahorse.org.au/event/horseland-raffle/
Watch our raffle space because quite soon we will also be launching our fabulous Olympic Royal horsefloat raffle, thanks to the amazingly generous Candice Loughhead at Olympic Trailers.
In terms of SAHA business news, our AGM was held on Wednesday, April 26. Ordinarily after our AGM, we would put a link to our audited financial statements from the previous year, but the police are still holding some of our paperwork (although the police investigation into SAHA is concluded) so our auditors will not be able to finalise the audit until the end of May. However, as required and advised by Queensland Fair Trading, we have held our AGM within the legal timeframe and dealt with the business that could be dealt with and adjourned that which couldn’t. We will revisit those matters at a second meeting in late May. Elections did go ahead, as required, and for the Committee, Rachel Daniels was reappointed, a new committee member, accountant (and horse lover) Suzanne Young was appointed Treasurer, and I was appointed President. In other business, Helen Hayes stepped down from the Committee to concentrate on her work as Operations Manager of SAHA. We will advise you all as soon as the link to last year’s audited financial statements is available.
Until next time, may The Horse be with you…
Candida Baker, President
136,000 horses – ‘Walers’ as they were known because they were sold through New South Wales – were sent overseas for use by the Australian Imperial Force and the British and Indian Governments. In one of the most poignant footnotes of history, only one horse made it back to Australia – Sandy, a solidly built bay with a Roman nose – who belonged to Major General Sir William Bridges.
Sandy, who had already seen plenty of action with his master, and was Bridges’ favourite charger, was one of 6,100 horses who were sent to Gallipoli. The equine soldiers fared more favourably than the humans when it was decided that very few of the horses should actually be landed in Anzac Cove.
Sadly, Bridges was one of those that didn’t make it out that day, and Sandy was then put in the care of Captain Leslie Whitfield, an Australian Army Veterinary Corps Officer in Egypt. Sandy remained in Egypt with Whitfield, until the pair were transferred to France in 1916. In 1917 the then Minister for Defence, George Pearce, called for Sandy to be returned to Australia, and finally, towards the end of 1918, the four-legged soldier came home. He was humanely put to sleep in 1923.
As for the other 135,999 by the end of the war there were 13,000 horses that were “surplus to needs”, of those 11,000 were sent as remounts – mainly to the British army in India, the other several thousand were destroyed; of the 18,000 horses New Zealand contributed to the war effort, only four made it home.
It is one of the unique aspects of the relationship between horses and humans that they, of all the animal kingdom, are prepared to go into battle with us – even to die for us.
During the course of compiling several anthologies of horse stories over the years several stories remain burned in my memory of horses coming to the aid of humans in trouble. One is particularly vivid – a young girl was walking her horse down a country lane when a car drew up beside her with a man in it who seemed polite enough – he asked for directions to the nearest town but then as the girl was answering him, he reached out through the car window and tried to grab her. Before she could even react, her horse flung himself between her and the car, forcing the man to let her go, and he quickly drove off. A modern-day war horse for sure.
It’s perhaps one of the saddest indictments of our society that these beautiful animals who have fought beside us, who seem to know when to protect us, and are so grateful for our protection, so often end up in such dire circumstances. It’s why the work we do is so important and why your ongoing donations are so vital to our work – not just to save the horses but in the long term to help create a better world for them.
Sadly for us, we lost one of our lovely boys yesterday. Our beautiful Tawn, a 24-year-old STB who was surrendered by his elderly owner to us in 2016, has been suffering from ongoing neurological issues that were affecting his back and back legs. It was obvious to his foster carer that Tawn was becoming increasingly depressed, and when we made the call to the vet it was suggested that it was time to put him to sleep. It’s always upsetting for everyone at SAHA when a horse crosses the Rainbow Bridge, but at the same time we can’t help feeling grateful that the horses in our care at least will not have to suffer. RIP Tawn.
This ANZAC Day as you remember the soldiers that fought so bravely in Anzac Cove, spare a thought too for the horses that fought alongside them during that long and bloody war.
Lest We Forget.
Candida Baker – Acting President