I’m sure that somewhere within everyone is a curiosity or perhaps a secret love for horses. For those of us lucky to own or work with them, every day is dedicated to their health, happiness and welfare because at some point in our lives, the romanticized depiction of these real life unicorns captivated us; and we, the devoted horse enthusiasts, dedicate our lives to them with little to gain other than the joy of their company and the privilege of riding on their backs .
Most of us “horsey people” sacrifice much or our time and resources to ensure that our horses live their very best lives. But sadly, this is not the case for many equines in Ireland. Despite having a world renowned and well respected reputation for breeding and producing horses for the racing, sport and leisure industries, Ireland still has a chronic problem regarding animal welfare – and our prized equines have unfortunately not escaped the threat of misuse and neglect.
Many of you may remember the 2019 story of War Celeste. The Thoroughbred race horse once sold for £240,000 who was found locked in a pen on a Co. Cork farm. Her story made national headlines, with an article published in the Irish times (read here) and covered by RTE news after her rescue.
Philomena, as she is now known, was found emaciated, starving, and neglected. Her condition was so bad that euthanasia was considered. Many of her companions unfortunately were in too poor of condition to be saved and had to be put to sleep that day.
However, Philomena survived. The daughter of the great American race horse War Front, who was once linked to the stud owned by Andrew Llyod Webber, was nursed back to health by volunteers from the My Lovely Horse Rescue.
Philomena is one of the lucky ones.
However, the story War Celeste is just one out of thousands who as a result of her high profile pedigree and background, was lucky enough to catch the eye of the national media and draw your attention briefly to an all too familiar horror story that is happening every day, all around the country.
There are hundreds and thousands of other cruelty cases which are similar and unfortunately, even more disturbing than the story of a once famous race horse left to starve in a barn.
For a country who’s heritage and culture is deeply steeped in horse-lore, our approach to animal welfare issues and legislation is woefully lacking. And this is where the work of animal welfare charities like My Lovely Horse Rescue step in and pick the slack.
You probably wont read Trudy’s story in the Irish Times. At just two years old, Trudy was found in inner city Cork, emaciated, starving and covered in old and new injuries inflicted by the sulky harness that she was made to pull as well as the stick carried by the cruel and indifferent hand who put her there. Trudy is now five years old and if her photograph was posted to Done Deal there is no doubt that anyone would even entertain the idea that this beautiful, kind eyed coloured filly had such a cruel and unmerciful start to life.
Or what about Francesca? Found outside Clonard, Co. Meath, The mare that lay in a pit of mud for hours and hours, in a open view to drivers passing by. When the MLHR volunteer and veterinary team were eventually alerted to her all that could be done was end her pain and suffering.
These stories go unnoticed, unreported and virtually ignored – except for the work of a few dedicated volunteers dotted around the country.
My Lovely Horse Rescue operates one of the largest equine rescues in Ireland. They rescue, rehabilitate, love and rehome hundreds of equines as well as a menagerie of pigs, goats, dogs and even birds every year. They currently have the largest pig rescue operation in Ireland and in total, over 450 animals are under their care on a daily basis.
Their main farm is located in Kildare and currently has over 200 rescues onsite with a couple hundred more fostered out with loving families and are still patiently waiting their forever homes.
Like most animal rescues, they operate 7 days a week, 365 days a year and are made up predominantly of volunteers from all walks of life all over Ireland.
Not only do they dedicate their time and resources to the rescue and rehabilitation of neglected and abused animals, MLHR also work on educational community programmes. They are at the forefront of campaigning for the promises made by Government regarding equine welfare are acted upon and implemented, as well as campaigning for multi-agency responses to the crisis in our urban and inner city areas.
If you have read this far and find yourself thinking “God, that’s awful,” “Jeeze, that poor mare,” then I have a dare for you…
So often we say “I wish I could do more to help” but talk ourselves out of it with a litany of excuses – “I don’t have the space for a resue,” “I don’t have the time to volunteer, I wish I could.”
My dare for you is to do something. I don’t mind what it is, but inaction is as bad as turning a blind eye to the pain and the suffering of horses like Philomena, Trudy and Francesca. So, I dare you to do any of the following:
- Go to www.mylovelyhorserescue.com to learn more of the work MLHR does.
- To re share this blog to bring more awareness to the work of My Lovely Horse Rescue.
- To donate a minimum of €1 – YES – one euro because every penny counts. You can donate here.
- Or next time you decide to have a tack room clear out – instead of trying to sell on old rugs why not donate it MLHR?
There is always something we can do to help, no matter how small.
When I was approached by the lovely Orla from MLHR and when she asked me would I consider writing a post about them I couldn’t say no. And here is why.
Solas, Giselle and Luca have never known hunger, pain or cruelty. The thought that they could end up in a situation like the many horses and animals under the care of My Lovely Horse Rescue is too upsetting to actually comprehend. But if I found myself in a situation where they would have to be sold on, there is no guarantee that they wouldn’t ever fall into the hands of some one who was indifferent to their welfare.
We owe it to our own horses to do our part in changing animal welfare culture and laws within our country. To ensure that if the day every came that we couldn’t care for them ourselves that the culture and systems were in place to ensure that they would never end up abandoned, hungry, cold and alone…. like so many others currently are.
So, please support My Lovely Horse rescue to continue to rescue, to work with communities on education and to work with government agencies to ensure implementation of current legislation.
We owe it to our horses.