Little Annie and Marty the Miracle are two of the most heart-rending rescue stories from this year for Spain’s only officially registered horse rescue operation.
Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre Foundation (EHCRC), based in Rojales, has had a busy year, with equines arriving every month of 2018 to bring their total herd to 123.
“Once a horse or donkey has been seized by police, we go along and collect the animal. We then become the custodian but not the owner and therefore cannot rehome the equine. It has to remain in our care,” EHCRC co-founder Sue Weeding said.
Annie, a 15-year-old tiny white pony was brought in by Almoradi police. She was suffering from severe laminitis, malnourishment, parasitic infestations both internally and externally and had the worst case of overgrown hooves EHCRC had ever seen. But Annie now has a good quality of life, even though she will be disabled and a special needs pony for the rest of her life because of the abuse she has suffered.
Marty is a 17-year-old donkey rescued from San Javier. He was severely neglected by his owner and his hooves were horrendously overgrown, resulting in his hoof joint getting twisted back at an unnatural angle. He was in so much pain because of his deformities he was struggling to get to his feet to even walk.
EHCRC farrier Enrique put a special shoe on his deformed hoof as a temporary measure to correct the angle. Marty has adapted incredibly well to his new shoe and miraculously has now even started trotting. He has also been castrated now, too, and is recovering well.
EHCRC has secured the future for Annie and Marty, and many other equines when no-one else was interested in saving them.
“We will always open our doors when the police call to take in an abused equine facing an uncertain future. The animals that come to us are high maintenance but we will always continue to take care of them,” founders Sue and Rod Weeding say.
The horses and donkeys come from across Spain, with police and local authorities contacting the foundation in desperation as their last hope from places such as Lorca in Murcia to Granada. This year the foundation was asked by police every month to take in one or more abused or abandoned animals. At one time, seven came to the centre at once. Many of the rescued equines suffer from serious medical conditions, but EHCRC believes that every animal deserves a second chance regardless of what condition it is in.
Running the centre and charity shops is a full-time job for the couple; the physical effort required is 24/7 every day of the year, and financial restraints mean they do not have enough workers to help them. The centre spends about €5000 a week just to keep operating, without including veterinary costs. There is no government funding. It has been a particularly hard year due to the number of rescues, as well as weather. Floods earlier in the year caused havoc and much of the foundation’s alfalfa was lost.
EHCRC is located just outside Rojales at Partida Lo Garriga, 59, and open to the public on the first Sunday of every month between 1pm and 4pm. For more details visit www.easyhorsecare.net or follow the Centre on Facebook at @EasyHorseCare.