Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary has saved three horses in distress thanks to an emergency fund set up by Petplan Charitable Trust and World Horse Welfare.
The story of Gabriel provides an insight into the charity’s determination to help this pony despite no information as to his location or condition. .
“When we were first contacted about him the only information provided was that ‘they’ needed their feet done,” explains Carol. “There was no comment on age, size, sex, etc. It took us weeks to track down this information. When we finally set off to pick him up, the address we had been given didn’t exist. We had to start knocking on doors and checking every field we passed.”
The charity, based in Antrim, Northern Ireland, began to consider whether the whole thing had been a prank. At the eleventh hour, a local farmer came to the rescue, explaining that he knew of an abandoned pony. He directed them to an unmarked lane, at the end of which were three overgrown fields. Carol takes up the story:
“We walked the fields with no sign, wondering if he had escaped now. But no, there he was, sheltering down in a hollow of the third field. On first sight he looked okay. Then he moved and we could see the thickness of his neck, the overgrown feet. He nervously watched us approach, instincts obviously telling him to run but his body unable to.”
Gabriel’s hooves were so overgrown, someone had sawn part of them off
“He walked slowly and stiffly. We took him directly to our equine vet. He was heavy and his hooves were so overgrown someone had sawn part of them off. His tail dragged a foot behind him in matts, and lengths of his mane were dreadlocked to his hocks.”
Following a thorough examination, it was clear that Gabriel was anaemic and three times heavier than he should be. He was given pain relief and monitored overnight. In the morning, tough decisions had to be made. Was recovery worth the pain to this distressed animal? Luckily, the X-rays showed that the damage to his feet could be fixed. So the team decided to bring him back to the sanctuary, still a stallion as he was too weak for castration.
“We wouldn’t have been able to help him without the support of The Covid 19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund,” says Carol.
Chica has liver damage resulting in photosensitivity
Another horse helped by the fund is Chica, a 15-year-old mare with liver damage, resulting in photosensitivity.
“Chica was lifted from travellers, another mare in their care having been shot in the field where she stood by her owners for no apparent reason. We called her Chica owing to the huge wound on her cheek. This was the first issue to sort, and she was stitched up. Then her body was flushed with antibiotics to fight the infection from the wound. The skin has recovered well, although she has lasting nerve damage in her left side.”
The assumption was that the charity had dealt with the mare’s immediate problems. But there was worse to come. As soon as she was turned out, she began to blister and burn. A blood test confirmed liver damage. Crosskennan are lucky to have three covered paddock areas, and although not large, they are big enough for a 2-3 horses each for turnout. In this case, it is the perfect place for Chica to recover.”
Cali is one year old and her body displays the telltale scars of racing. Her young hooves have already seen shoes and on arrival every one of her ribs was showing.
“One month on and she is such a sweetheart, her scars are healing up and are hidden beneath her winter coat which is starting come in,” says Carol. “She is so curious and wants to see what everyone is doing. We are grateful all she truly needs is time and feeding up, but we are also so thankful that we were able to give her that time.”
The grant has also enabled Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary to rehabilitate Angel, Arrow and Jess who all arrived in July. The arrival of Krystal was a direct result of the Covid crisis. Her owner turned to the charity after losing their job and their home. Krystal is being cared for at the sanctuary until she can be rehomed.