Out of control!

In the space of three days our Head of Welfare visited 80 horses and ponies mainly due to calls from concerned public or animals known to be at risk.  This involved travelling up to an hour away from the Centre to Kent and East Sussex.  Due to the big freeze some of these herds had no water and one particular herd consisting of brood mares and youngstock had to wait three long days standing by their dry tanks before their torture ended.  This was a traumatic time for us as our Field Officer that was keeping an eye on the herd, had to make frantic phone calls of worry before the news finally came that water had arrived.

Of the 80 horses visited between 32 to 35 were in foal, some due imminently.  As if having to give birth in muddy, cold fields devoid of shelter and little food is not bad enough, the owners in some cases are living some distance away.  The vast numbers of foals due this year to inferior stock is very worrying as many will be worthless due to lack of size, substance and food so we know what will become of them.  What a pity that people who must breed don’t keep a few good mares that they can care for properly and produce valuable offspring.

Twelve of the horses had been left to their own devices in dangerous rugs with either no straps at all, straps trailing on the ground or tied up with baler twine.  In most cases it’s better to have no rug at all than a dangerous or badly fitting one causing sores and pressure injuries.  Maybe if those owners had been present when we had to euthanize a horse that had become caught up in its rug they might take more care.  There is no excuse for lack of rug or using broken rugs; the Charity always has a large selection of second-hand rugs and we can bring them to your horse to try on.  Also there are numerous businesses that do rug repairs.

Due to the huge rate of growth in horse culture resulting in large numbers being at risk and mostly owned by travellers, we are recruiting new volunteer Field Officers in all areas and have welcomed another ten recently.  These are mainly dedicated horse owners who are frustrated and concerned with the lack of care provided to horses and ponies in their vicinity.  If you wish to join our team give us a ring; very often you will find there are others in your area already ‘on the lookout’ so you can work together.

Don’t hesitate to call us if you know of cruelty or abuse:  01424 892381



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Peaches needs a new home

This is the wonderful Peaches. She is a palomino Welsh section A cross pony, roughly 2 years old. She came to us with her brother for rehoming. He has now found a new home, so we would love to be able to find a long loan home for Peaches too.

She is a very inquisitive, ever so pretty, friendly little girl who will make a brilliant riding pony for a very lucky child. She has been handled and now turned out and is living out with boys and ladies.

You can see a short video of her here  or click on the videos in the right hand side menu of this page.

If you are interested, please contact Dinty on 01424 892381 for further information.

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Foals death brings ban on keeping livestock.

As reported in the Eastbourne News,  we have had incidences with this man on a number of occasions so were naturally pleased to hear this, although saddened by the loss of a lovely foal.

A father of two has been disqualified from keeping livestock for three years after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.  Lawrence Trill of Eastern Avenue, Polegate, Eastbourne, said he had made efforts to rectify the situation but admitted that he could have done more.

The piebald foal was found dead at Radar Farm, Wartling and the RSPCA then became involved.

A post mortem on the foal showed it was extremely emaciated and there were signs of pneumonia and salmonella.

Eastbourne magistrates heard the death of the foal could have been prevented if veterinary attention had been sought.  Trill pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.  As well as the ban Trill was given a 12 month community order and must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.  Trill was also ordered to pay £500 court costs.

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Brought back from the brink

This is Sharny. We rescued Sharny in 2008 when she was on death’s door. The photos speak for themselves. You can see below in sequence, pictures of Sharny’s time with us, the first being how we found Sharny in the field awaiting our help.

We used a huge horse sized sling to get Sharny on her feet so that she could start her rehabilitation. Sharny has now been rehomed to a loving safe and peaceful place.

Can you believe that someone could let a beautiful horse like Sharny get in to such a state and just let her die? It is beyond comprehension. If we had not been there to take care of her, she surely would have died a painful drawn out death in a matter of days or even hours.


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With the delicate economic climate, a lot of  horse owners have had to make the heart breaking decision to sell their animals, rather than cut back on their care or let them fall in to neglect. Unfortunately a lot of the cases we see are owners who have got in to some sort of difficulty and cannot look after their horses any more. Brownbread are always here 24/7 to offer advice to owners who are struggling financially or who have questions about the best course of action to keep their horses healthy and well. We rely heavily on members of the public to inform us of any horses they have seen that look like they are lacking clean water, food and shelter.

Due to many owners feeling the pinch, some have decided to loan out their horses on a part share basis. This seems to be a great deal for both parties involved, as those who wish to ride more often than the cost of riding stables allows can benefit from not only riding more often, but improving their riding with a horse they can get to know.

The biggest issue with any loan arrangement is trust and reliability, therefore it is important to not only get on with the horse or pony but for the owner/rider relationship to be open and honest too. Make sure you write out an agreement at the beginning of the arrangement so that both parties are aware of what stable duties and finance they are responsible for. It is normal for a rider to contribute towards the stabling and care costs of the horse in question.

Warning to owners!

Do NOT put your horse on loan without checking!

Recently,  at Hove Crown Court, a woman, Dawn Randall from Eastbourne, was found guilty of accepting two horses, “Troy” and “Janie”, on loan . . . .and then selling them!  She was sentenced to a 10 month prison sentence suspended for 2 years and court costs.  Furthermore she has to pay compensation to several people including the 2 women who purchased the horses from dealers in Dorking and Ringmer as well as the women the horses were taken from and a local vet.

This woman uses several names such as Sue da Silva, Dawn Moore, Dawn Reynolds and Debbie Reynolds.  Sometimes she put her own adverts in papers, (see below) or otherwise she would answer adverts that said, “Wanted Loan Homes”.

WANTED, Companion Wanted.

Please can anyone help just lost my horse after 25 years need a companion for my other little horse 5* home free if poss can pay a very small fee as only want him or her as a companion.  Eastbourne 07044 ********

Basically she stole the two horses in 2008 and 2009 but through careful diligence she was found out and both horses were recovered in August 2009.

As you see this is a very plausible advert and many genuine horse lovers might be impressed by the “five star home” and easily fall victim to the con.  So be very careful when putting your horse out on loan.  Therefore you will need that watertight contract that also includes access for inspection, references and immediate return without hindrance if the horse is not being looked after properly.

At Brownbread Rescue we put some of our horses on loan under a rigid contract and on a very few occasions have had no hesitation in retrieving the horse without warning if the contract is not being adhered to.

However, the majority of loan arrangements lead to very happy fulfilled lives for many horses and ponies. There are many people out there that can give unconditional love to other people’s horses and help relieve time and financial pressures on their owners.

If you would like to find a pony to share, check your local tack shop, vets and newspapers. Pegasus magazine carries local adverts and other good places to look online are Horsemart.co.uk and Equineads.co.uk.

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Field Officers explained….

Can I become a Voluntary Field Officer, (VFO) you ask? Yes, easypeasy!

Some of our VSOs are highly qualified in equestrian circles while others are possibly dog walkers or concerned members of the public. All we ask is that you contact us regarding any horse welfare concerns you have in your area and vice versa, if a member of the public reports something to us in your area that you might have a look and give us a more professional evaluation of the situation. For instance, one well meaning elderly gentleman phoned us to report cruelty where the owners had “blindfolded” the horse. Of course the owners had simply put a fly gauze over the face which the horse was perfectly able to see through. Such a simple explanation by our VFO on site saved us an hour‟s wasted journey.

Hopefully you should not hear from us other than receiving our newsletter, but sometimes we invite all the VFOs to the Centre for a get-together; a fun day of swapping stories!

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Buried Alive

This aptly describes the horrific conditions from which we rescued four Welsh stallions aged between 19 to 23 yrs old from South London. The dramatic rescue was planned like an SAS operation and was only successful due to one special lady who was determined to end the terrible suffering.  Even with our meticulous planning it still seemed miraculous that the extraordinary rescue came together like clockwork.

These ponies had been suffering a fate worse than death having been shut up in total darkness for many years.  Their owner only appeared for half an hour each day so just imagine the absolute horror they endured with nothing to see or do and hardly any room in which to move around.

When we entered their prison it was too dark to see the ponies: there was just silence, none of the sounds that you would expect from normal, well-cared-for ponies.  Suddenly they realised that we had come to rescue them and their expectant heads appeared over their doors.  They literally stumbled out of their hellish conditions blinded by the sunlight as they tried to regain the use of their wasted limbs.

We were exhausted having loaded up and travelled back to the Centre.  It was well after midnight when we then put them in their new stables with top doors open to the stars and then the early morning sunshine that they had been denied for so long.

It was sheer elation to see them the next morning, all bright eyed with an excitement of ‘being alive’ seeing and hearing the new world around them.  Their emaciation and muscle wastage would obviously take time to heal.  However, as with all our new entrants, they were visited by our equine dentist (“tooth-fairy” to us) who revealed that all four ponies were suffering ulceration and overgrown teeth that was causing terrible suffering and making it impossible for them to eat; they had been gradually starving to death.

Their names are “Magic”, “Merlin”, “Pharaoh” and “Lloyd”.

All four stallions were successfully gelded at the Belle Equine hospital with no complications despite their ages ranging from 19 to 23 years. We had to make a return visit for “Lloyd”, “Merlin” and “Pharaoh” to received urgent dental treatment. The latter two had been unable to eat properly and had been suffering considerable pain for many years.

“Pharaoh” had to return to the hospital at a later date to have a lump removed from his throat. In fact staff at the hospital became quite attached to “Pharaoh” as he had been resident there for a while and similarly the days started to seem a bit empty for our staff at Brownbread if we weren‟t making a trip up to the hospital!
All four geldings continue to live together and we see them here frolicking and enjoying the snowy conditions in their big field.

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