lunes, 12 de enero de 2009

30 EQUINES - First part

As always, it was reports from neighbours of horses in bad condition in a very small enclosure in the Valles Oriental that put us on the trail.

We went to confirm this report and seeing the horses so thin, we decided to begin to take them hay , alfalfa and dried food twice a week until we got somewhere with the report we had submitted at the Town Hall.

There were approximately 27 animals – mares, colts, ponies and donkeys.

It was the first time we had seized so many horses and we were so keen to feed them and look after them that, at the time, we forgot to take photographs.

Their owner did not seem to be in control. Outside the enclosure there were bales of straw and he had harvested fresh grass from nearby fields that later he piled in front of the fence…. without giving it to the animals, it rained…. the grass fermented and rotted.

At last the order to enable us to seize the animals was given.

As it was impossible to put all the animals in the Refuge, we rented a field from a man in a neighbouring village and the day before the seizure, we surrounded the field with an electric fence to try to stop the horses from escaping. At that time we didn’t know if the animals would respect the electric fence, as they had never been in this type of enclosure.

Irma and Josep Lluis taking care of AROUM

We had also arranged that the same day, once the animals were there, that everyone on our list who wanted to adopt would come to choose the horse or horses they were interested in and to take them directly to their new homes. It was impossible to check these new homes beforehand. We would have to do so afterwards. We didn’t want to leave the horses there all night…. they were very near the place where they had been seized and in villages news travels fast.

It was exhausting work .It took four days of 12-14 hours uninterrupted work to organize getting the people who wanted to adopt, installing the electric fence, collecting the animals and the later adoptions.

Improvisation, willingness and a lot of dedication characterized these days.

"CHIARA" Four months pregnant

D Day

The day of the seizure we found ourselves with 30 equines, among them a one week old colt.

They were totally wild animals that had never been touched or stroked by anybody. They wouldn’t let us get anywhere near them.

To defend themselves they all stayed together … or they started to run, jumping over bushes and anything else in their path. 4 or 5 of them escaped in a moment of distraction by the person in charge of the gate that we used to get them out.

After a while they came back to be with the rest of the herd.

Even though there were so many of us it was a real effort to get them all into the lorries.

What a busy morning! We ran around without achieving anything, and the owner arrived and threatened us and we had to take refuge with the men from the Civil Protection who were totally dedicated to helping us…. and then we had to carry on trying to get head collars on these horses who didn’t understand that we wanted to take them to a better place.

Finally we took the remaining ones in a group and we were able to get them into the lorry by placing the police cars at the side of the ramp so that the horses couldn’t escape.

"ADA and LINCE" ( one week old)

From there we all went to the field that we had prepared in the nearby village.

The people who had come to adopt chose which animal they wanted, we filled in the contracts, controlled the situation as well as we could and little by little the horses left, if we were able to catch them…. because there was a colt which everyone wanted, but nobody could catch. Two or three times we saw a young man “skiing” between branches, pulled along by this wild colt.

At the end of the day there were only seven small colts (one of them seriously deformed) and two ponies which had not been adopted. They spent the night there, as the Lorries had to leave.


30 EQUINES second part

The next day we arrived early and we saw that the six colts had been stolen; only the deformed foal was still there. It would probably have to be put down later on. But I will continue with its story later on, so as not to interrupt this account.

One of us stayed with this foal and the others began to follow different paths and visit houses to try to find the other animals.

Stella and Maria saw them four kilometers away, on a farm with some rather unpleasant looking people.

Bucking up all her courage, Stella went in as “Chief Vet” and ordered them to give the animals back and they did so, without us having to call the police.

It was incredible, they were unbroken colts that hadn’t let us even touch them, but these people had been able to shave their manes and tails so that they couldn’t be identified.

Then the lorry arrived and from there we took them to the Refuge.

A group of colts eating.....finally

When we arrived the lorry driver had the bright idea of putting the ramp down right next to the road and to let them go down to the river together. Oh! They went galloping down, breaking the fences and upsetting the horses that live there, until they reached a piece of land where they relaxed and began to graze. As there was nowhere else to put them, we had to quickly look for some netting to improvise a fence where they could stay with some degree of safety. Meanwhile Maria and I stayed, with sticks in hand, to keep the animals there.

The horses were tired and they decided that it was better not to continue being naughty, which is why, when the fence was finished, Leonor gave them food and they stayed there for two or three months until they were adopted.

Ron, Arum, Akeem, Foc and the ponies Sherrif and … were fed and looked after by Leonor until they were adopted.

The Story of CALITJA (Mist)

"Calitja" at de clinic, after just have been operated

When we were all together, waiting for the lorry to take us to the refuge, the air was heavy and nobody dared to say anything, because at that moment we had to take the decision to call a vet to put down the deformed foal. And when we eventually decided to call the vet, Imma, one of the group, who had her head between her hands, as if she was resting…. looked up misty eyed because of tears, because of the sadness she felt that this foal, so young, that we had rescued. However instead of her rescue it was a death sentence and Imma´s exterior strength hid an interior sensitivity.. Stella felt sorry for Imma, she found out it was possible to operate on the foal and suggested that she would pay for the operation, but Imma had to adopt her and look after her.

"CALITJA" at Irma's house, complitely recovered

So, Calitja was saved and even though the operation was very difficult and the recuperation very long, from the photographs we can see that she came through everything very well. In fact so well, that three years later, it has been possible to ride her for a short time now and again.

"FOC" one of the foals, enjoing the snow

Thirty equines have had different paths and even though some have been left behind, others continue to be looked after and loved by those who have been able to offer them a new home.

BRANDY and BLUE playing in de forest