It's known as 'the barley fields', rough dusty tracks, tall dry grasses, trees in the distance. During the day kids come to play and ride their dirt bikes. Later, as night falls, others come to drive stolen cars at breakneck speed, drinking and hollering for hours before finally setting fire to the cars. It’s no place for horses, yet it's where they were left, in the scorching summer heat, to wander, to die.
The message came through to us on one of those hot summer evenings. “An emergency, two horses, one only a baby, people need to go now.”
I got in my car and drove as fast as I could. One volunteer was already there. Others were on their way and somebody else was rushing to the farm for the horsebox. The Gardaí had been alerted and were on their way to assist. You never know what can happen, who can come to challenge or attack you with their misplaced sense of what horse ownership means. I know for sure what it doesn’t mean: two young horses clinging together, Kieran barely a year old, Zade but a few months old, his swollen belly stretched over his tiny rib-cage, bones sticking through like they were going to tear his skin apart. No proper food, no water, no veterinary treatment for the worms that were ravaging his body and slowly eating him alive.
With the help of the most amazing local people, we made a wide circle around the two frightened horses and carefully steered them towards the horse box. We led Kieran in first, hoping that Zade, who was very frightened, would follow his protector. He darted to and fro for ages on his thin little legs. Then Kieran called for him as if to say, 'it's okay, these are the good guys, we gotta go with them'. The relief when Zade finally trotted up into the horsebox was beyond words. I felt the tears start then. This was my first rescue and even as I write now I can feel the tears come again.
We brought them home, home to the My Lovely Horse Rescue farm. We fed and watered them and then they collapsed with exhaustion and slept for hours, the deep sleep of those who no longer have to be on guard, who no longer have to fear every noise and whose tummies are full.
Slowly, oh so slowly, they began to get a little stronger, eating little and often, drinking their fill of cool, clean water, hearing only gentle voices and feeling only the most loving of touches.
We did everything we could for them – but only Kieran made it. On July 30th 2018, Zade’s little heart just couldn’t fight anymore and he closed his weary eyes forever. Now he’s forever young, forever free and running through lush green meadows. That’s what I have to hope anyway.
To whoever left him and Kieran to die I have no words. To everyone else, I say don’t turn away, think of little Zade and all those like him and be their voice.
We have more than 200 horses currently in our care. If you'd like to help to keep doing what we do, click here.
If you'd like to volunteer, please write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, our animals and our volunteers thank you for your support.❤️