Hello and welcome to the February issue of the My Lovely Horse Newsletter!
We’ve had storms, we’ve had snow, but it’s finally here – that much-longed-for stretch in the evenings and here at MLHR we are well and truly getting that Spring into our step!
In the last month, 43 animals were taken into our care and we assisted with many more rescues and calls for help and advice. With so many new arrivals, it’s hard to pick just one special someone to introduce you to, but this month we just know you’ll love meeting Baby Lenny in our Arrivals Lounge. In our Departures Lounge, Jaffa the cat is off to his new home bringing hope and happiness to his new family and cat companion Benji after Benji’s brother sadly passed away. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, our Story of the Month looks at some of the cutest couples who met at the MLHR bases and found love and companionship.
This month’s Day in the Life features our beautiful chestnut miniature friend Sylvester Stallone and his struggle with a lung infection. Our Did you Know? section looks at the Five Freedoms and how they underpin everything we do.
This month we have the first story for our new Mini Section which monthly will feature one of our smallest equine friends and their stories
As promised … we have bargains of the month and videos from My Lovely Charity Shop and the Tack Shack.
Roll up those sleeves and roll out that dough – this month we’re bringing you a recipe for Linzer biscuits which you can tuck into while you watch the terrific videos and photos from Behind the Scenes this month.
As always, we are here for the animals because you are here for us. We are so grateful for your continued support. Thank you for subscribing!
Arrivals – Lenny
We are so excited to tell you about one of the newest arrivals to the MLHR family. Little Lenny, our beautiful new boy, is only about 4 months old and so tiny. He’s like a dwarf cob and judging by his body condition we know he saw very little of his Mom in his life. He was rescued by a very vigilant member of the public who took him straight to a vet as he had pneumonia. Once he was a little better she reached out to us for help as she had nowhere to keep him. We’re so glad she came to his aid and now he is starting to get better and regain his energy. He just loves his breakfast every morning and does his little buckaroos around the stable like any happy little boy. Everyone is completely smitten with him and we hope to pair him up soon with a friend of his own age. Lenny’s life is looking up and there is only love and happiness now in his future.
Departures – Jaffa the cat
This story starts with two little brothers, Alex and Benjy who went off together to be adopted and have a lovely life. Then tragedy struck when after only a few days in their new home Alex became very ill and passed away. Everyone was devastated, their new adopters, Fiona and Anthony from the MLHR cattery and of course poor little Benjy who missed his brother something terrible. So everyone decided that he needed a new friend.
Jaffa was a young little black kitten at the MLHR cattery. He was the last of his litter and had watched his two brothers already go off for adoption while no one came for him. For some reason black cats are always left until last and are so hard to rehome. Jaffa was very timid and shy. He wasn’t boisterous like his brothers but he had so much love to give. Could this be the new friend that would help to heal Benjy’s broken heart? So Jaffa was brought to meet Benjy and everyone held their breath. Within a couple of days they were stuck together like glue, completely inseparable and friends forever. Benjy had someone to love again and Jaffa had found his forever home. As always we are so grateful to our MLHR adopters who open their homes and help make dreams come true.
In honour of the month that’s in it and all the loving celebration of human couples that will be taking place on Valentine’s Day, we would like to celebrate the great love stories that we have seen over the years amongst our wonderful animal friends. We are in no doubt that animals bond with and love each other with a strength that can last a lifetime. Some find their true soul mate and will never replace them when they are gone. Others have shown that they can love again once that grieving time is over because make no mistake about it, these relationships are very powerful. Below are some of our favourites through the years.
Gladys & Edgar
These two guys are what started the MLHR total devotion to goats.
They arrived together and were completely bonded. They loved each other terribly and did everything together. You can see from their faces the absolute joy and happiness which they felt everyday just having each other and living their lives together. Being with them helped us all to be happy too.
They were about 6 years old when they came to us and unfortunately we lost Edgar some time ago. Gladys was heartbroken and to this day, though she mingles well with the rest of our growing herd, she has never found anyone to replace her beloved Edgar. He remains her true love, her soul mate.
Zola & Baxter
These two were love at first sight. Poor old Zola had it rough before we found her. She’d been abandoned in a field and left to her own devices for months. Her hooves were so overgrown that she couldn’t lie down. She was featured on RTE getting attended to by our farrier and we actually had to get her feet x rayed before he could work on them. Imagine the torment of her life. With her hooves all sorted she was ready for her new life and once she caught sight of Baxter she wasn’t letting him go! Baxter was found with another donkey abandoned near a canal and he fell for Zola just as hard as she did for him. They were adopted together and are now living their happily ever after.
Rita & Stanley
Stanley actually originally came in with Baxter above but he went off and found love which left poor Stanley moping around on his own for a while. Rita was abandoned near a large expanse of woodland and had been there for sometime when locals reported her to us. It took awhile to catch her and all this happened during the very first lockdown. When she came to the farm she was drifting a bit and wasn’t bonding with anyone. Then a lovely family wanted to adopt two donkeys so the farm team set about doing a little bit of matchmaking with our two loners. They were introduced to each other and the rest is history and they went off happily together.
Snowball & Dandy
Snowball was rescued with a tiny foal at foot and pregnant with another. She gave birth to a healthy baby and eventually both her foals grew up and were adopted.
So she was waiting at the farm for her forever home when Dandy arrived from the horse pound. They fell desperately in love, were stuck to each other like glue and you couldn’t even leave one of them out in the field for a few moments while the other went in to see the farrier. They have been adopted together to their forever home together.
Mikey & Clarence
Clarence came to MLHR Cork from the pound, sick and skinny and with his coat all matted. Mikey, you may remember, was found at the side of the road in horrendous condition and possibly may have been used for dog baiting as his injuries were so bad. These two gorgeous smallies were stabled beside each other and there love blossomed. When an adopter came for one she fell in love with both and so they live happily now in a most wondrous home with a specially designed stable door so they can both peep out at everyone.
Beppe & Lou
Beppe of Berry, his official pedigree name, is an original Shetland pony from the islands and will be 22 next year. Originally a brown and white skewbald he whitened over the years which can happen. Somehow he ended up in the pound and then came to MLHR Cork. Lou was abandoned in West Cork, her feet in terrible shape. Of similar age to Beppe the two just gelled so well together from the start and have been recently adopted back in West Cork again.
Darla & Julio
Julio was surrendered to MLHR with another two donkeys, mother and son, who were both eventually adopted. He’s the largest donkey on the farm but really just a big soft marshmallow at heart and very kind to everyone.
Darla was found abandoned in someone’s field. When they met it didn’t take long before they became inseparable. They are part of a donkey gang on the farm. Darla is the only girl in the gang but she is the boss of all of them, on her dainty, little toothpick legs. She doesn’t take any messing from anyone and they all simply adore her, none more so than her beloved Julio.
Chester & Amelia
Amelia came into the MLHR cattery with her 5 little kittens who were all eventually rehomed and then Amelia too went off to her new home with MLHR Bruce. Very sadly, Bruce passed away within a few months and she was heartbroken, going around the house crying all day for him. Her adopter got back on to us to see if we had a friend for her. We thought of Chester, a Bengal cat (his coat shows his leopard cat ancestry) who had been surrendered to us. He too was very lonely and spent a lot of his time crying around our cattery. Would they hit it off? Well,as you can see from the picture, they sure did and are now inseparable spending most of their day curled up together.
Julio & Tedi
Julio came to MLHR Cork from the Donkey Sanctuary who had rescued him along with a donkey. He had tons of personality and went about bullying all the horses on the farm, big and small, proving to be quite a handful from the start.
Tedi was the opposite, a tiny wee thing, reported to us by residents in a housing estate in Cork. When we came to get her that night, we found her huddled into a ball in the far corner of a wall. Frightened, very shutdown and sick with a serious respiratory infection. When Tedi and Julio met we could almost hear the music. It was like they had been waiting for each other and little shy Tedi tamed our Julio. We love them so much, our two little fluffy monsters and now they live in their forever home together.
Shauna & Higgins
Higgins was a racehorse, Wetherbys chip and all but ended up abandoned near a wood in Kildare with 6 other horses.
Shauna is a little shetland in her 20’s now. She came in pregnant to us and gave birth to Elizabeth, a piebald cob who was much bigger than herself eventually. Shauna had lots of spirit and marched to the beat of her own drum. She was adopted by two of our volunteers, one of whom was also called Shauna. They had already adopted HIggins to join their other horses. So when Shauna arrived at their place she joined their little herd. Even though she and Higgins are so different in size and come from opposite ends of the racing world they were attracted to each other and fell in love. Shauna follows him around and eats out of his food bucket and they are living their happily ever after in the loveliest home imaginable.
Grace & Naomi
These two magnificent thoroughbred mares were found with 5 others dumped in a peaty, woodland area in Co Kildare by an unscrupulous owner. Nothing of substance grew there and they were starving and in desperate need of help. We named them after supermodels because even in their abandoned state, we were just blown away by how beautiful they were. From the beginning we could see the special attachment Grace and Naomi had for each other, even within the group.
They grazed together, lay down in the field together, groomed each other and did everything together. If one went to the vet the other had to go too. On a winter’s day, when the sun would be shining at the farm you’d look over at the two of them, skinny and all wrapped up warm in their rugs, munching away on their haylage and special feed to build them up. With that gentle light spilling over them, it was hard not to be mesmerised by their beauty, the graceful turn of their head, the regal nature of their stance. They recovered well eventually from their traumatic experience and have been adopted together to live a much better life than they’d ever known before.
Aidan & Shelby
Shelby was one of our many pound rescues and she was a girl who always got on with the boys and hung out with them way more than she did with other mares.
Aidan came from Dublin city where he was so neglected that his headcollar had become embedded into his poll area at the top of his head and across his muzzle and maggots had started to eat away at him. Horrible image but one which is not unique to Aidan unfortunately.
They met at an MLHR adopters so you could say it was a bit of an arranged marriage which turned out beautifully for the two of them. The MLHR matchmaking team don’t often get it wrong and we have lots of wonderfully happy couples to prove it
In June 2021, Sylvester Stallone, a chestnut miniature stallion, was found straying on a main road in Co. Westmeath. A quick-thinking finder secured him on their own land and called on MLHR for help. As with so many animals that come into our care, Sylvester was not microchipped and being unable to identify the person responsible for his care, he came to to live at the MLHR farm.
Sylvester is a handsome man who is roughly 4 and a half years old. He has a larger than life personality but, as he is not gelded (castrated), he can’t currently be around fillies or mares in case he gets over-excited. In addition to stopping unwanted breeding, gelding can help reduce challenging behaviours in males like biting, rearing and kicking and enables the horse to integrate happily with a herd.
Gelding is usually a straight-forward procedure but, as with so many things in life, unexpected problems can arise.
While under sedation for gelding, Sylvester suffered an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic and his body went into shock. His temperature dropped dangerously low and he began shaking uncontrollably. Thankfully our vets brought him out of sedation quickly and he was kept warm with blankets and his vital signs were monitored until they returned to normal. Once he had a chance to recover, our Vets would try to geld him again.
In early August however, Sylvester developed a cough and began to lose body condition – his coat had become dull, he was losing weight and muscle tone. To make matters worse, when our Vets listened to his lungs, they detected an audible wheeze when he breathed. Blood samples were taken from Sylvester and he was prescribed rheumocam to alleviate any inflammation caused by the coughing while we waited for his test results. He was put on box rest in a warm stable where he would have protection from the cold and where he would not have to burn much needed calories to help him stay warm.
What we do to help Sylvester
By September, Sylvester’s cough had not improved as we had hoped it would. The decision was taken to sedate him and perform an endoscopy. The results revealed that he had an infection in his lungs cause by a bacteria called Pseudomonas Fluorescens. This bacteria is commonly found in moist environments such as soil, leaves and water. As no other equines on the farm have experienced an illness or symptoms like Sylvester’s, it’s likely that the bacteria was present in his old environment and the infection may already have been present in his lungs before he came into our care.
Sylvester was put on a course of Kariflox antibiotics for 10 days and his cough was monitored closely but he showed no signs of improvement. When his temperature began to spike dangerously, he was put on a course of doxycycline antibiotics and both his cough and his temperature were monitored daily. With very little significant improvement, he was admitted to UCD Large Animal Hospital to re-evaluate the problems in his lower respiratory tract. While we hoped that Sylvester would be well enough to be gelded on that occasion, our Vets advised that the persistent problems with his lungs made it inadvisable for him to undergo general anaesthesia.
Sylvester had Vet check ups in December and January and his lungs were scanned again. As he still has his cough and fluid sounds were detected on his lungs, Sylvester will need to have another endoscopy this month to see if the antibiotics have cleared the infection and to determine what the next steps in his treatment should be.
As can be seen in the photo, one of the ways our Vets listen to Sylvester’s lungs is by using a breathing bag. This bag is placed over his nose and Sylvester breathes the same air in and out.
As he breathes in carbon dioxide, he begins to take deeper breaths and this initiates his cough, and the sounds in his lungs (the wheezing and crackling) become more pronounced. If his lungs were healthy, there would be no reaction and his breathing would be normal.
Sylvester has a stable at the top of the main MLHR yard so that he can still watch the comings and goings on the farm. Here he doesn’t have to exert himself by trying to compete with other ponies for food!
He has time and space to rest in his stable but it can get lonely in isolation, so for now he splits his time between his stable and a small paddock where some of the other boys can keep him company.
Sylvester has been through quite a lot physically in the short time he has been with us, but we will continue to monitor him closely and do everything we can to keep him comfortable.
Stay tuned for an update on Sylvester next month!
Welcome to our mini section where each month we will feature one of our smaller pony breeds for you. They can be so adorable yet feisty for their size and often well able to take on the larger horses who simply look bemused at these tiny creatures giving them attitude. Minis like shetlands and falabellas are often mistreated in this country, ridden by kids or adults who are way too big for them. We just adore all our smallies as we often call them and in light of this being a Valentine themed newsletter our first story will feature a mini couple. Meet Aine and her man, Barry White.
Aine was fourteen when she was found in a South Dublin housing estate. She’d been struck by a car trying to cross a busy road and almost lost her leg. We rescued her and after a successful operation and lots of vet care which the public kindly supported us with she recovered. She still can’t do too much running as she has a metal plate in her shoulder.
Barry White was rescued through the Dept of Agriculture and laminitis made him quite overweight and his feet were not in good condition. But he had loads of attitude and swagger and loved the ladies and we just imagined that if he could talk he’d have that deep bass-baritone voice of his namesake as he called out ‘hey baby’ to his lady friends. He was the man and he would take on any of the bigger horses, running up to the fence at them and rearing up on his hind legs, squealing at them as they would look over in complete disinterest.
Aine obviously loved all that swagger and fell in love with him. They bonded together and are just the cutest little couple. They live in long term foster now as they are both complex medical cases and require ongoing supervision.
The Five Freedoms
If you are lucky enough to have an animal family member you’ll know all about meeting their needs on a daily basis. The Five Freedoms will be second nature to you. You see your companion at play when they are happy and excited, and at rest when they are panned-out, snoring or taking up your entire couch or bed. They communicate with you all the time – letting you know (not so subtly) when it’s mealtime or they want a drink, when they want to go outside or come back in. You no doubt provide enrichment for them with snuffle mats, scratch posts, squeaky toys, chew toys, balls or teddies. Unfortunately, we do sometimes see the animals we love dejected and in pain and if that happens, we do whatever it takes to alleviate their suffering.
Did you know that the catalyst for the Five Freedoms was the1964 publication of “Animal Machines” by Ruth Harrison, a British animal welfare activist. Harrison detailed the experience of intensively factory-farmed animals, both poultry and livestock. The public response to Harrison’s book was so profound that in 1965 a British Parliamentary enquiry was set up to address the welfare of intensively-farmed animals. The enquiry found that the basic physical needs of animals should be met – that they should be able to stand up, lie down, turn around, stretch their limbs and groom all parts of their body. If measures were introduced to improve the lives of animals to this basic degree, what must their lives have been like before?
In the late 1970s, the UK Farm Animal Advisory Committee began to look at animal welfare holistically, acknowledging animal sentience and the fact that animals have both physical and psychological needs. The Five Freedoms were formalised in 1979. They are:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst: by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
- Freedom from discomfort: by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease: by prevention through rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to express normal behaviour: by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from fear and distress: by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
Much work has been done in the last 40 years to improve and support animal welfare but there is a long road ahead. Animals are still intensively-farmed and many of the pigs in the care of My Lovely Pig Rescue and indeed our friends Savannah and Sebastian, made it out of that industry and will now live long and happy lives. They are among the lucky ones.
Reports we receive on a daily basis from the public relate to animals who have been abandoned with no access to water or no food. Some are visibly injured or appear to have some affliction. Some have been worked to death or to the brink of death. Some are tethered at the side of busy roads, in housing estates and front or back gardens, alongside canals or rivers. There are animals who have been without company, sometimes for years. Many of the animals we rescue have deep emotional as well as physical scars. Some are exhausted, too tired to fight to stay alive any more and all we can is show them love and kindness and ease their pain for their final days.
Some are understandably afraid of being hurt again and reluctant to trust humans. Some are dejected and have shut down completely. This doesn’t happen overnight – this is the result of a sustained campaign of neglect and abuse. We work tirelessly to rehabilitate animals by giving them everything they need to recover. We work to give them the lives they deserve. We cannot undo the hurt that has been caused but we can show them there are people who care.
It is essential for us that animals in our care are able to express normal patterns of behaviour and live their lives free from fear and distress. We whole-heartedly support and advocate for the Five Freedoms of animal welfare. We will never stop fighting for them.
We are delighted to report that with the lifting of Covid restrictions, My Lovely Charity Shop and the Tack Shack reopened on Tuesday 25 January. As promised, we’re bringing you the lowdown on some of the incredible bargains on offer this month.
Many of the items in stock are reduced or half-price. We have a fantastic range of jewellery – elegant watches, beautiful bracelets and some unique and colourful handmade pieces – all at unbelievable prices.
Checkout the footage from the Tack Shack where you can have a virtual browse through the bargains on offer.
We are looking for Volunteers to join the team at My Lovely Charity Shop. If you are interested and can spare a day per week or per month, especially on a Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., please get in touch on 086 844 5076 – we would love to hear from you! For the latest news from the shops, please follow My Lovely Charity Shop and My Lovely Tack Shack on Facebook or, if you fancy a leisurely browse, drop in to 81 JKL Street, Edenderry, Co. Offaly. Opening hours are Tuesday to Friday 10.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. We hope to see you there!
As part of our mission here in My Lovely Horse Rescue we are trying to promote greater awareness of all animals’ needs, not just horses but especially the farm animals of the world who have such short and miserable lives before they go on their final journey to slaughter.
Many of us in MLHR have begun our vegetarian and vegan journeys over the last few years, inspired by the animals we’ve met on our farm bases. Something we’ve all learned is that every little counts and every time you opt for an animal-product free meal you are making a difference – even if you can’t do it everyday. We want to inspire as many people as possible to go on this journey with us, so every month we’re including a different vegan recipe for you to try out and enjoy.
This month we have a Valentine’s special, enjoy these vegan Linzer cookies!
- 160g flour
- 25g almond flour
- 40g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 90g plant based butter
- 1½ tbsp plant based milk
- Jam for the filling
Recipe is in the video 🧡
As always, Winter in Ireland seems to last forever. Animals all over Ireland are still facing unthinkable hardship, neglect and starvation. We have taken in so many horses and donkeys in the last few months who have been abandoned in freezing conditions, with no access to food, water, shelter or medical care. We are here for animals 365 days a year but we need your support more than ever to give these animals a life worth living.
We are aiming to raise €150,000 with our Winter Appeal to see us through this particularly difficult period. Our running costs last year nearly reached a staggering €400,000 with basic necessities of hay, feed, medical and farrier care accounting for over half of that figure. With over 500 animals already in our care across our three farms, this number is rapidly increasing as we take in sick and injured animals in desperate need of our help.
Your love of animals and your support means the world to us. Please help us provide a home, food and medical assistance to the animals in our care by donating what you can to our Winter Appeal.
Our farmies work from morning until night to keep the farms running and all the animals cared for. Between cleaning, feeding preparation, medical treatments and call outs, they capture so many moments on camera, from the interesting, to the funny and tender. Here are some ‘behind the scenes’ videos and photos from the farm this month. Enjoy!
It’s terrifying to witness an act of cruelty against a defenceless animal or to see an animal running loose in the street perilously close to oncoming traffic. In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to know what to do, who to contact, and to know what information will be important to share. MLHR is on hand 24/7 all year round to be the voice for animals. Every day we receive reports from all over Ireland of animals (of all species) who are straying, who have been abandoned, or who have been the victims of intentional neglect and abuse.
Under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, only Authorised Officers (An Garda Síochána; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Inspectors; and County Councils/Local Authority Inspectors) are permitted to seize animals, to enter private property, to carry out investigations or to bring prosecutions. MLHR assists Authorised Officers with their work and for this reason, it is vital that members of the public reporting incidents to MLHR also report to the relevant Authorised Officers so that we can liaise with and help them move animals out of harm’s way and into safety.
What you can do
1. Provide us with a description of the animal(s) at risk and the nature of the incident.
2. Send us a pin drop or accurate description of the location.
3. Take Photographs/Video footage but only if it is safe to do so
4. Tell us which Authorised Officer or Garda station you have contacted.
How to make contact with Authorised Officers
• An Garda Síochána – A list of Garda stations is available online at https://www.garda.ie/en/contact-us/station-directory/
• Local Authorities (for incidents on Public land) https://www.gov.ie/en/help/departments/#local-authorities
• ISPCA for emergencies call 1890 515515 (Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Welfare concerns can http://www.ispca.ie/cruelty_complaint
• Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – for incidents on private land phone 01 607 2379 or 0761 064 408 or email [email protected]
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