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Horses from horror farm move off to new homes

August 13, 2010

The horses who endured the horrors of Spindles Farm, in Buckinghamshire, are moving off to new homes around Britain.

Shetland ponies rescued from Spindles Farm: Marmalade, Waffle, Sophie and Mary tuck into dinner at Airhouse Farm.

Carol Houghton with the ponies.

The dismissal of appeals by James Gray and his family in May resulted in final custody of the animals going to animal charities, which have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in the rehabilitation of the animals following their rescue early in 2008.

A family of four Shetlands this month headed north to Oxton Lauder, Scotland, and into the care Carol Houghton and her family.

The Houghtons, who run a homestay on her working farm, had asked the SPCA for two ponies.

"They asked if I would take four rather than two as they didn't want to split up the family and I was more than happy to do so since they had been through so much," Carol said.

The four shetlands were among 111 horses removed from the property in a neglect case that shocked Britain.

"It was such a sad story and the pictures were horrendous to see. I knew I wanted to help in some way so when the RSPCA announced they were looking for homes for some of the rescued, I jumped at the chance," she said.

The RSPCA visited Airhouse Farm to carry out a thorough inspection, asking questions such as how Carol would recognise illness, when the vet would be called, how often the ponies' teeth would be checked and where they would live.

"The inspection was pretty detailed and the RSPCA will be back in three months to see how we are getting on. The ponies are lovely and a very welcome addition to the existing animals we have on the farm.

"Part of our business is self-catering and we are sure that our visitors will be keen to see how happy the ponies are in their new home!"

Disney on arrival at The Horse Trust.

Disney nearly doubled his original weight in his time at The Horse Trust.

Disney in his new home with (from left) Horse Ranger Mae Thompson, Stable Manager Theresa Barrett and Horse Ranger Layla Thompson.

The Horse Trust said this week it had found a new home for one of the Spindles Farm horses with the Horse Rangers Association.

Disney made the 60km trip last Friday from the trust's headquarters in Speen, Buckinghamshire, to the Horse Rangers' base in East Molesey, Surrey.

Disney is the first of the Spindles horses in the care of the trust to be found a new home.

The trust said Disney was severely underweight and suffering from a salmonella infection when rescued. Within a year he had nearly doubled his original weight.

As Disney had never been ridden, the trust needed to find a new owner who would be able to train him from scratch.

Liane Crowther, welfare and education Officer with the trust, says the Horse Rangers Association is a charity which helps young people to learn how to ride and care for horses.

She says it will provide an ideal home for Disney as he is a calm, sociable horse who is good with children.

"We are thrilled that the Horse Rangers Association has been able to offer Disney a new home. I'm sure he will love being pampered by the Rangers," she said.

"Disney will be missed by all the staff, volunteers and visitors to the sanctuary. He was a firm favourite among visitors because of his cheeky and inquisitive personality."

Theresa Barrett, stable manager with the rangers, picked up Disney from the trust on Friday and said he has settled in well.

"Disney travelled like a dream - given his background I thought he might be nervous about getting on a trailer again, but he was absolutely fine," Theresa said.

"We have moved Disney into a paddock with two of our other horses, Sam and Marmalade, and he has made friends with them already."

Horse ranger Layla Thompson, 14, said she was pleased the association had been able to take in Disney.

"After everything Disney has been through, he really deserves to be properly looked after and Horse Rangers will be the perfect home for him," Layla said.

"I hope that interacting with all the rangers will help him to forget about the past and build up trust again."

Mae Thompson, Layla's twin sister, added: "He will fit in really well as he's a good size between our smaller and larger horses. He should have another 20 years ahead of him and will get lots of love and attention here. It's a second chance for him to have a happy life and he will be able to bring happiness to lots of rangers, too."



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