We are delighted that Hope Pastures is the chosen Official Charity for 2017.
About Hope Pastures
Hope Pastures rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes equines. The ultimate aim is to find these animals a fulfilling life with their own family, where they are loved and cared for.
We’re a small charity, which is ‘on the ground and easily accessible’. We are contacted every day to rescue animals and our lack of bureaucracy means we’re able to act quickly to help if needed. 30 animals are currently being sheltered at the sanctuary and we’re responsible many, many more, now enjoying new and useful lives in loving ‘forever’ homes.
Hope Pastures educates in animal welfare and our city base allows us to provide therapeutic contact opportunities for people who wouldn’t normally meet horses/donkeys. Open to the public free of charge every day, we provide a centre for the local community and families. We also run educational and fun visits for schools, brownies and support groups as well as take ponies out on therapeutic visits to centres and care homes.
Within our educational work our yard team spend time supporting local travellers and others who know little of equine welfare. We prioritise rescuing colts and mares from breeding environments, to help to tackle the equine over-breeding problem at source.
We believe we do an excellent job in terms of rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing, but so do many other equine charities. What makes us different is that we have VERY few overheads and for every £1 donated to Hope Pastures 95p is spent directly on the animals.
Bessie and her companion Bobby lived on a caravan site and were brought to our attention by a supporter, who negotiated with her owner for both ponies to come to Hope Pastures. Bobby arrived first and he was shockingly thin, full of worms and lice, with a matted coat and was very depressed. Bessie arrived the next day. Hope Pastures didn’t have a horsebox at the time, so her previous keeper dropped her off in a transit van. He opened the back doors and there was Bessie, squeezed in by the back seats and tins of paint and rubbish – just another ‘piece of cargo’. Bobby’s face lit up when he saw Bessie and the team realised that they were closely bonded after suffering so much together.
Bessie’s condition was even worse than Bobby’s. She, too, was full of worms and lice but she was so severely malnourished that our yard team could see and feel every bone, and her upper legs and tummy were hot, bald and raw with urine burns. She was withdrawn, anaemic and incredibly hungry and thirsty. On thorough examination, both ponies were also found to have infections in all four hooves. The rehabilitation task began – both physical, which takes months when an animal is in the state Bessie was, and mental, which is often the most difficult for abused animals. The ponies were with us at Hope Pastures for 6 months and were fostered with one of our vets for a further 6 months, before being re-homed with Sophie and Danny.
They’re now rising 4 and are learning the ropes of being long reined and lightly backed and are part of the family. They recently travelled down to the NEC to attend the BETA International equestrian trade show, where they were impeccably behaved, despite never having been in a (very scary) situation such as this before. Bobby and Bessie are fantastic rescue examples, showing how even animals which have been so badly neglected and abused can learn to trust humans again and have a full and enriched life.