Many things are changing on our farm, and we've been thinking about how on earth we got here... and why we do it all in the first place.We founded My Lovely Horse Rescue in 2011, but we didn't move into our current farm home until 2014.
After three years we finally had a place where all our animals could be together, a place to base ourselves and to grow from. No more paying for livery or relying on the generosity of friends and volunteers for stables for our horses.
Our My Lovely Horse Rescue centre is an old fashioned rented farm. It’s far from glamorous, and a lot of hard work and long hours went into making it suitable for us.
When we weren’t hauling buckets of water from the river for all of our animals’ needs (it would be a year before we got our present system that pumps water from the river through underground pipes to our water tank in the yard), we were building stables out of the old cowsheds amidst the constant daily feeding and caring for the animals. Nothing came easy or cheap, but then no-one said that rescuing horses would be either. 2018 was a hard year for us and our animals, enduring freezing winter snow and a scorching summer heatwave.
The farm badly needed an overhaul and we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. Our old farmyard was compacted earth and every time it rained it turned to deep muck, where everything from wheelbarrows to wellingtons got stuck. It couldn’t be cleaned properly and the horses were getting mud rash from standing in it.
We needed proper dry standing areas for our wonderful equines and a surface that was easy to clean.
So, the very expensive decision was made to concrete it over. We couldn’t really afford this but it was necessary for the future of our horses and our rescue. Now, €40,000 later, we have four dry standing areas and a quarantine that can be cleaned daily without anyone losing a boot or a wheelbarrow and more importantly where the horses can move with ease.
Then there was the stable issue: we simply didn’t have enough.
So, for €16,000 we bought four dome-like shelters made of waterproof canvas that protect our horses from the harsh sun and the beating rain.
The difference that these two changes have made is indescribable and just a couple of weeks ago Noah was born in our smallest shelter, on a bed of hay, our first foal to do so.
We love our rescue farm and we’re so proud of it. It is the only true home that our animals have ever known. Our animals are the beating heart of My Lovely Horse Rescue farm, and they remind us daily why we do what we do.
And we thank you, dear supporter, for your part in allowing all this to happen. Without you, we wouldn't' be able to give our rescued animals a life worth living.
This week the folks from The Critter Shed podcast came to visit us at the farm. Podcast hosts Collie Ennis and Colette Kinsella came to meet our pigs, and we had a fun afternoon chatting about about these wonderful creatures.
Pigs are some of the most misunderstood, maligned and mistreated animals on the planet, and they're also one of the world's most intelligent species – just behind dolphins and chimpanzees.Pigs are also emotionally complex beings, and researchers tell us they can learn to play video games, can recognise themselves in a mirror and they have the ability to solve puzzles
Of course, this is old news to us! Every day on the farm we watch our motley crew of rescue pigs solving puzzles all over the place.
One of Tina's best moves, for instance, is opening the childproof freezer locks with her nose!
There is so much to learn about pigs. They have sophisticated emotional and social lives, they're playful and have excellent long-term memories, and they can keep track of individuals in their group, just like we do.
Perhaps it's no surprise that Collie and Colette fell in love with our gorgeous gang of pigs. Click 'play' above to find out why!