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Tinker, Tailor and Soldier
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Tinker, Tailor and Soldier get some well-earned rest
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Tinker, Tailor and Soldier settle into their new home
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Actress Jenny Seagrove with another one of the residents
Actress Jenny Seagrove founded Mane Chance Sanctuary, a charity that cares for abused horses and ponies, in 2011. Under her helm, the Guildford based Sanctuary has developed into a safe haven where ill and abandoned horses get the love and care they deserve. Here Jenny writes about her most recent rescue mission.
We were battening down the hatches at the Sanctuary, preparing for winter and all the hay feeding, mud and staff shortages that that time of the year brings. No more horses coming in: we would be too stretched. And then we got a phone call…
There were three, very thin and very young, coloured ponies straying in a field right next to the A3. They had no food, a bucket of water that was pretty rank, and not much in the way of grass or leaves in the field to munch on. Would we please please help?
There was at this point a collective sigh as we considered the various ramifications. Not least: would three more mouths to feed push us beyond our limits and endanger the whole sanctuary? We run on a tight budget!
We decided to go and assess the youngsters. Volunteers went out to the site and reported back. They were indeed young and there was a good chance that the smallest wouldn’t survive for much longer.
As with most rescues, the situation wasn’t simple. Who owned them? Had they abandoned them or were they just fly-grazing? They were in a bad way, but if we fed them and got them healthy, the RSPCA couldn’t step in. We called our vet out, who told us that as we weren’t their legal owners we couldn’t instruct her to treat them (she did however give us medicine and instructions on how to administer it!). World Horse Welfare advised us on the legal situation of fly-grazing/abandoned horses, as did the police. We gave them a good feed of hard food filled with supplements and decided to leave them some hay on the ground and monitor them.
A few days went by of hard feed and hay and no one came to move them. Then the phone rang: “the police want to seize them!” we were told.
They had by now strayed right next to the A3 and were in danger, and could also create havoc for the passing motorists. Would we please please have them?
Another loud collective sigh. Of course we would; we would deal with the consequences later.
And so a sign was put up on the site, with a contact number for the owner to ring if he came back. The colts were terrified when we approached them, but we managed to get them loaded into our trailer and taken back to the Sanctuary.
The newly named Tinker, Tailor and Soldier were so poorly for the first few days all they could do was lie down in the stable we made up for them. But as the days passed, they got a little strength and we were able to de-worm and de-lice them.
A couple of weeks later and they were strong enough to go into their own track. Now they are starting to flourish, and are really coming out of their shells around us humans.
Soldier has been a cause for concern as he had a bad stomach and breathing problems. Our vet says his immune system was shot to pieces by malnutrition. He is responding now to a wealth of supplements and feeds and should soon be out of the woods. They are happily sharing a track with the Shetlands and come in to the stable for their feed at night as they are in no state to stay out in the cold.
So we have three more mouths to feed and huge vet bills coming up… But the alternative was untenable, and the joy in seeing these little fellas flourishing is worth all the hard work and worry.
Are you moved by Tinker, Tailor and Soldier’s story? Help Mane Chance continue to save vulnerable horses by donating online to manechancesanctuary.org/donations
About Mane Chance: The Mane Chance mission is to rescue and rehabilitate old, abused and abandoned horses. The horses have often been beaten, starved and left with open wounds or broken bones. The sanctuary is a vast oasis of peace and tranquility for 25 current residents who live a wonderfully free and safe life where they are loved and fed in equal measure.