Hello and welcome to the July issue of the My Lovely Horse Rescue newsletter!
Before we break out the suncream and jump headlong into the month, let’s catch up on the news and latest happenings at MLHR and MLPR since last we met!
In June we took 24 animals into our care and 16 animals were adopted. That’s 9 horses and ponies, 2 donkeys, 2 mules and 3 dogs embarking (emneighing? embraying?) on their new lives.
Our equine baby boom continued with the birth of beautiful baby Faline. Faline and her Mum Vera are doing really well. Vera is 15 hands high (about 60 inches or 5 feet in non-horsey terms) but we think you’ll agree that Faline will be towering over all of us in no time!
June was Women’s Mini Marathon Month and we’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part to raise funds for the Rescue. We received some gorgeous photos and loved spotting those tell-tale orange T-shirts in the sea of colour!
Our Corporate Days are up and running once more and we had the pleasure of welcoming staff from Alcon and Otterbox to our Cork farm and from Nielsen to the main MLHR farm. They did an incredible amount of work repairing fence posts and rails; fixing leaking roofs; power-washing, painting and refreshing our stables; clearing paddocks of ragwort to keep them safe for our residents and the all important job of animal cuddling. People power at its finest!
On 10 June, on his final day in office, Kilkenny Mayor Andrew McGuinness presented Martina and Deborah Kenny, two of our co-founders, with the Mayor’s Award in recognition of MLHR’s Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare in Kilkenny. We are honoured to receive this award and we gratefully acknowledge many years’ support we have received from An Garda Síochána in Waterford, Kilkenny and Carlow; Kilkenny County Council; KTCM; Paws Animal Rescue Ireland and KSPCA.
My Lovely Pig Rescue welcomed two beautiful piglets in June, Nora and her sister Lilly, both under one year of age. Nora was heavily pregnant on arrival and she and Lilly were very nervous but our Volunteers spent a lot of time with them showing them that they are now in safe and gentle hands. Lilly, as you can see from the video, has discovered the delight of being hand-fed strawberries while Nora thoroughly enjoyed the antenatal pampering that she deserved. On 23 June, five bundles of piglet joy were born! To say we are head-over-heels in love with this little family is an understatement – welcome Lilly, Nora and new babies Dakota, Ricky, Chris, Sabrina and Precious.
MLHR Cork was well-represented at the Cork Summer Show by rescue ponies Danny De Vito, Mackenzie, Cindy, Prya and Jensen. They did a superb job flying the flag for the Rescue!
We were delighted to see so many entries in the “In-Hand Rescue Pony Class”, a category for ponies who have been adopted through a Rescue Centre in Ireland. These ponies are not ridden but are led without a saddle and it is wonderful to see so many animals who have known hardship in their lives, so loved and cared for and finally getting their happy-ever-after.
We took a road trip to lovely Laois on 25 June for the AbbeyLeix House Family Fun Day, an fantastic event held in aid of St. Lazerians St. Vincent De Paul Conference, the Abbeyleix and District Lions Club and My Lovely Horse Rescue. On 26 June we whizzed down to Waterstown Park in Palmerstown for a Dog Show held in aid of MLHR and held a Doggie Adoption Day at The Saucy Cow in Dublin’s Temple Bar. Never a dull moment at MLHR!
And so … on to July! Our Story of the Month features one of Volunteers Leah and the incredible bond she has with MLHR Ciarán whom she adopted in 2018.
Our Arrivals Lounge welcomes Nora and her piglets. We have captured some very tender moments on camera. Over in our Departures Lounge, we bid farewell to our MLHR celebrity couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds who were recently adopted and are starting the next chapter of their lives in Abbeyleix.
Our Did You Know section looks at ways to keep animals safe in the summer sun while our Behind the Scenes photos and videos are guaranteed to raise a smile and brighten your day.
As always, we are here for the animals because you are here for us.
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Roll up! Roll up! Last call for tickets – 27 Days to Go!
The winner of our MLHR House Raffle will be announced on 28 July and we can barely contain our excitement! Just 27 days remain for you to buy a €23 ticket that could win you a house! If all raffle tickets are sold, MLHR will receive €200,000. This would enable us to expand and improve our stables and animal shelters, invest in a much-needed new tractor for the Rescue and provide us with emergency funds to pay for veterinary care. Even if we don’t sell all 40,000 tickets, the winner will receive a minimum of €123,000 – a life-changing sum and the rescue will receive €99,000! It’s a fantastic opportunity for you and for the animals in our care. Please, please, please buy a ticket today!
From Rescue to Best Friend and Champion
We all know horses to be intelligent, noble and magnificent animals but they are something else too, they are very brave. They can go through the most horrible experiences, survive them and come out the other side full of hope for a better day and a better life.
Here at My Lovely Horse Rescue (MLHR) we have seen horses arrive at our rescue farms with the most awful injuries, both mental and physical. Some you might think would not make it yet they constantly amaze us with their ability to heal and to grow strong again in mind and body.
Our rescue horses go on to be adopted by many different types of people but we are always especially thrilled when they go to homes with young riders. It’s so important for younger generations to understand the great gift that they give all rescue horses by welcoming one of them into their lives and to see the great friends they can become. Over the next three months we are going to feature three of our young adopters and their MLHR ponies.
Leah and Ciaran
Leah O’Rafferty is 14 years old and has become a huge part of our MLHR family since adopting Ciaran from us 4 years ago. She spends every waking moment with either her own horses (she now has two of our rescues!) or up at the MLHR rescue farm mucking out and helping care for all our other animals.
Ciaran is nearly 8 years old, 13.2hh, a very sweet pony but his big personality also means that he does like to get his own way and it’s earned him the nickname of Cheeky Chico. When Leah first got him he was ‘more likely to dump you at the fence than go over it for you’ she laughs.
He also likes to let himself out of his stable in the morning while waiting for his breakfast and has been known to try and sneak into horseboxes as the other horse comes out so he can head off on a trip which he loves doing.
Leah chose him because of the sense of confidence he gave her when she first rode him and his very attractive colouring – he’s a skewbald, cremello and white.
It’s because of Leah’s determination and patience and also the great care and training which he has gotten from Ann and the team at Littleoaks Equestrian that Ciaran improved so much. Leah herself has learnt a huge amount at a very young age from training him and she would not be the great rider she is now without him.
Ciaran is such a part of the O’Rafferty family now that they could not imagine parting easily with him. They have recently taken on another of our rescue ponies, Olga, who is 6 years old and over 15 hh. Olga came into MLHR Cork from the horse pound, another beautiful horse unclaimed and unloved. In the five months Leah has had her they have become quite a team.
As the photos show, Leah is becoming a very confident horsewoman and loving the new experience of a bigger horse and she is very grateful to Conor and Abi from Ballyteague stables for all their help with Olga. Every Friday evening Leah and Olga compete in the Derby in Ballyteague, a friendly competition which the duo love doing. ‘Chico is still my baby and he always will be but I love having Olga as well now to compete with as I get older’ says Leah. Young riders like Leah are the future of MLHR and we all have such respect for her and her wonderful family and their love of horses.
Arrivals – Nora and her 6 piglets
This month we are surrounded by new life on all three of our farms and in our MLHR cattery. It’s that time of year when young innocents are born and Moms struggle to keep them alive, feeding them, protecting them and being their lifeline. We are always so in awe of the love and devotion which we see from our new Moms. They watch everything that’s going on around them and their babies. They are always on the alert and ready to intervene to protect their young, just like we humans are with our precious babies.
Both Kildare and Cork have new foals gaily prancing around the fields, enjoying their little lives and starting to explore beyond Mom’s side. Our cattery is of course full of tiny little beings so fragile and cute – who doesn’t melt at the sight of kittens! We feel such a responsibility to each and everyone of these new lives and we are going to share here the story of Nora and her 5 new piglets who were born on Thurs June 23rd at My Lovely Pig Rescue (MLPR).
Nora was dumped in a rural boggy area where many locals had tried their best to catch her. One kind soul had fed her a few creamy buns as a treat every so often so that she would stay around and they could eventually catch her and get her a home. We just love when people make that extra effort on behalf of animals that they don’t even know. As with many of our rescues, especially pigs and goats, we will never know how she ended up there or who left her to fend for herself. She is quite young, less than 1 years old we think and she was very pregnant when she came to us. She is very healthy though and all that running around the bog for weeks made her fit and ready to have healthy piglets. An interesting fact we’ve learned from our vets is that she was lucky that she had 5 piglets because pigs who only have four often abort them as there aren’t enough hormones kicking off for their body to recognise that it’s pregnant. So Nora had the magic number of piglets and she had all 5 of them in just over an hour which is fantastic as pigs intensively reared can often take upto 12 hours to give birth. This can be because they are not fit at all and are not using any of their core muscles as they are housed in such confined areas so they don’t have the energy or fitness level to sustain them for the entire birth. As a result of Nora’s quick birth she wasn’t so exhausted that she risked flopping on top of the piglets which is why intensively reared pigs are separated from their mothers in factory farms and not able to go through the natural bonding and cleaning and all the motions so essential for everyone’s health and wellbeing. There’s just enough room given for the piglets to feed from the mother and nothing else so no intimacy and comfort and snuggling up together. The sterility of their lives is horrific.
We were so relieved that we got to Nora in time so that her babies were born in a nice dry stable on a soft straw bed and surrounded by people who love them all so much already. In the wild pigs will often walk several miles to choose the perfect spot to build a nest for their newborns so we trust Nora approves of her MLPR lodgings.
The wonderful photos are from two of our volunteers John and Nora who actually changed their flights when she gave birth so they could stay longer for the night shifts. They were a big part of helping Nora get relaxed in our presence which proved to be very necessary as Cathy had to help get the first baby out which obviously helped with the survival of all the rest. They are so healthy with more than two teeth each and Mom has lots of milk to keep them going which is just as well cos they are feisty little creatures. The video of one of them playing with the blue toy shows how important play and investigation are to their healthy development.
Nora is proving to be a super Mom and when you see her strong maternal instincts it truly brings home the complete lack of understanding we have towards other species and their needs. Nora loves her offspring just like we love ours. From the moment they’re born her full attention has been on them, nursing them, cleaning them, talking to them, giving them the most beautiful hot breaths ( a love hello) making sure they are nearby and not wandering off as you can so clearly see in the video when she is counting them and calling out to one of them to locate him, the wee rascal. He’s actually hiding in the straw on the right and she does find him but you can see her concern for them so clearly which makes us love and admire her so much. This is a bond that we humans share with all animals, our bond with our young, and we don’t really fully appreciate it because right now all over the world, little piglets are being born onto concrete floors, their mother’s trapped inside farrowing crates which prevent them from moving and which totally breaks that maternal bond that should develop. Imagine just how distressing this is for new Moms whose babies will be taken from them then in less than a month to be artificially fattened up and killed by the time they are only 6 months old.
Then of course, like any new Mom, poor Nora tries to catch a bit of sleep amongst all the constant feeding. As we watch her lying on her bed of straw, her little piglets suckling away contentedly against her warm body, then popping off somewhere nearby to do their little pees before coming back to settle down for a nap beside her and their siblings, we can’t help but feel completely heartbroken for the millions and millions of piglets and their Moms who will never experience this comforting and beautiful start to their lives together. For now we take comfort in the fact that Nora is safe, her piglets are cosy and cared for and they can develop their bond with their Mom as nature intended and be a true little family unit. None of our MLPR pigs’ will ever be viewed as simply a resource. To us these creatures have an intrinsic value all of their own and not one which is only dependent on whatever value we humans decide to assign them. They have their own lives which deserve to be lived and we at MLPR are so determined that they get that chance to live them and we feel so lucky to get to share that life with them.
Departures – Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds
Mules are just wonderful creatures but often not known or understood as well as horses or donkeys. As a cross between the two they share characteristics from both, getting their strength, patience and intelligence from their donkey father and their athletic ability and speed from their horse mother. Mules are really beautiful creatures and tend to hang out with the horses more than the donkeys when they come to us.
Blake and Ryan came to us from the Donkey Sanctuary who we often work closely with. They came as a bonded pair and settled in well at the farm, so well in fact that they started to make new friends amongst the rest of the herd and ‘broke up’ for a while, having their fun out and about on the town! In the end they realised they only had eyes for each other and renewed their ‘vows’.
Blake is desperately affectionate and truly loves humans, happy always to see us approaching and coming over for a cuddle and a chat. Ryan is a little more standoffish or maybe it’s just that he likes to see his lady get all the love she needs. They were with us for a little under a year and now they have gone off to a super home, one which has taken quite a number of our equines and where they will have a lovely little herd to hang out with. Just as with their human name sakes we are sure they are destined for a very happy future together and we are so thrilled for them both. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple.
Staying Safe in the Sun
On a warm day, the yard at the main MLHR farm is a popular spot for the animals to catch a few rays. Our sun-worshippers happily sprawl out and doze, completely oblivious to the hard work being done around them. As we approach the peak of summer and stock up on the SPF50, it’s important to remember that animals need protecting from the sun also. Did You Know that Horses, Donkeys, Pigs and Goats are all susceptible to sunburn?
All horses can become sunburned but those with pink skin and light or white hair (which lacks the UV-ray-absorbing pigment melanin) are more likely to suffer from sunburn than others. Extra care must be taken with horses like our gorgeous baby Lenny who has pink patches on his nose, muzzle, ears and around his eyes. In much the same way as humans, horses’ skin will become red and hot, painful to the touch and may blister or peel.
Prevention is always better than cure and applying equine sun-bloc or a UV/Barrier Cream to likely-to-be-affected areas or introducing a fly mask with mesh covering ears and noses can protect vulnerable animals. Grazing in the early morning or early evening and staying out of the sun when it is at its hottest is advisable. As with humans, applying after-sun will be a balm to painful skin.
Every year, we receive reports of animals who are tethered for hours in full-sun without shelter or water. All animals need shelter and water and equines need to drink between 30 and 40 litres a day or they can become dehydrated and sick very quickly. If you drive, you might consider keeping a bucket and some water in the boot of your car should you come across an animal in need of assistance. Sunburn is just one factor to consider – over-exposure to the sun, overly humid conditions and over-working a horse in heat can cause heat stress.
Heat stress develops when the body’s usual methods of regulating temperature and cooling down are not working as they should. A horse who sweats too much or too little in hot or humid weather is at risk of heat stress. Other symptoms might include lethargy and an increased and rapid breathing rate – more than the expected resting rate for adult horses of between 8 and 15 breaths per minute. Urgent veterinary intervention is needed to manage heat stress. It can quickly escalate to heatstroke and this can be fatal. Treatment of heat stress and heatstroke includes providing water, electrolytes, shade and increasing ventilation and air flow with fans if necessary. Being ever-mindful of warmer weather conditions and monitoring horses’ demeanours are important preventative measures also.
Our rescue piggies regulate their body temperatures by lounging in mud wallows. Coating themselves in muddy water helps to cool their bodies and the mud also helps to keep parasites away. It’s the ultimate self-care and as you can see, their human carers couldn’t wait to get in on the action! We lather our piggy pals with a high SPF suncream and apply top-ups throughout the day to protect their sensitive skin and ear-hats are often a necessary and functional fashion-accessory!
And what about goats? Polled goats (those without horns) regulate their temperature by panting in much the same way as dogs, but it is important to monitor panting in the heat for other signs of lethargy or seeming disorientated. Horned goats can cool down by releasing heat through their horns. They have a significant network of blood vessels in the core of their horns which expand in response to heat (a process called vasodilation). With this expansion comes an increase in blood flow and heat to the area. As the blood circulates at the outside of the horn and close to its surface, the excess heat can be released into the atmosphere. The brilliance of biology!
Any animal can be at risk of dehydration and heatstroke so it’s important to familliarise yourself with the causes and take steps to prevent illness. Call your Vet immediately if you have concerns about animal family members.
It’s lovely to get out for walk in fine weather but please remember and share the Five-Second-Rule of dog-walking, as hot pavements burn paws. Place the back of your hand on the pavement and hold it there. If it is too hot to hold your hand in place for five seconds, it is too hot for a dog to walk on. If, on your travels, you encounter animals who are at risk of exposure, please report them to the Authorised Officers. Please don’t assume someone else will. It’s a simple call that could save a life.
My Lovely Charity Shop and My Lovely Tack Shack are in the midst of a midsummer makeover! We’ve temporarily closed our doors while our Volunteers work flat-out stock-taking and sprucing up the shops. We can’t wait to reveal our new look in just a few weeks’ time. Please keep an eye on My Lovely Charity Shop and My Lovely Horse Rescue for our reopening announcement.
Our shops are vital sources of funding and are staffed by Volunteers. Duties include sorting donations received, preparing stock for display, replenishing shelves and rails, assisting customers with queries, and handling cash and card transactions.
If you are interested in Volunteering in our Edenderry shops (just 15 minutes from the Enfield Exit off the M4) please email [email protected] with your name and contact details, telling us a little bit about yourself and why you’d like to Volunteer.
We would like to say a huge Thank You to Thomas Duffy and CBD Science Ltd. for their incredible generosity in gifting products to the MLHR residents. Handsome Harvey loves his Vegan Dog Treats and we cannot praise the CBD oil and CBD Skin Balm enough.
The lavendar and eucalyptus healing salve is made from natural and organic products, oils, and beeswax and is infused with 10% broad spectrum CBD. Not only does it smell amazing, but we have seen huge improvements since we began using this product to treat animals’ dry, irritated skin and scars. It has worked wonders for Brianna, a horse who has suffered significant skin damage following abuse; on Bruno Mars, a goat whose skin sensitivity results in hair loss, rashes and redness; on Gramps, our donkey friend who is prone to dry and lumpy skin on his nose and ears; and on our piggy friend Pearl who suffers with cracked and dry skin on her ears, back and trotters. It’s amazing for human skin too so please do check them out!
Here are some ‘behind the scenes’ videos and photos from the farms this month starring our cast of absolute characters! There’s always time (between cleaning, feeding preparation, medical treatments, call outs and cuddles) to capture precious moments on camera. We hope you enjoy them!
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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]
It’s lovely to see animals which have lived in dreadful situations being brought back to a place where they are happy and healthy one again.
You do tremendous work for them.
Thanks so much for that lovely comment Con, we really appreciate your support!
Really enjoy reading all about what has been going on at the farm.