February 2008

After 3 months of rehab and retraining, in January Hugo was ready to be re-homed…

When we first met him in October 07 he was depressed, malnourished and dehydrated. He looked as though he had given up on life although he was only 12 years old. His owners had bought him for his grandchildren to ride but the grandchildren were no longer interested and so Hugo spent the summer chained to a tree and the winter in a small barn being fed on stale bread and mouldy hay. Last winter his donkey companion died and so Hugo was facing this winter on his own, deep in manure without any light or exercise.

We were told about Hugo by a concerned neighbour. The owner would not give Hugo up, so with the help of our generous supporters we raised the 400€ required to purchase him and brought him home. Over the next few months, Hugo regained condition and enjoyed freedom with other rescue donkeys and horses. We organised visits from the farrier, vet and dentist and started to gently work with him. At the end of December, we saddled him for the first time and within a couple of weeks he was being regularly ridden out.

We delivered Hugo to his wonderful new home in the Limousin on the 28 February and his wonderful family provide us with regular updates and photographs.

Pippa and Hugo have formed such a trusting bond, all the patience and kindness she has shown towards him are paying off.  This once agressive and neglected pony has turned into an obliging friendly little chap and he and Pippa are enjoying hacking out and jumping logs together.

A few words from Hugo’s Guardians…

Pippa is really enjoying having Hugo this summer – I still can’t believe she actually WANTS to get up in the mornings!
He is jumping little courses now!  He is cantering happily on both leads and is really enjoying himself. During a nice rainy bit we had last week I had the chance to ride Jasper in the school with pippa and hugo, we had such fun!  The horses enjoyed jumping together and we spent a happy hour playing.
Hugo is truly exceptional.  I find it truly amazing that Hugo trusts us after what he has been through.”

Hugo has been in his adoptive home for a year now – and what a difference a year makes!  His adopters are an excellent example of how to bond with a horse or pony that has suffered neglect and/or abuse.  It is always worth taking everything that little bit slower and never asking too much too soon when a horse has had a bad start. When you build up their trust though you have a such a friend for life. Here are a few words from Hugo’s ‘parents’…..

We have seen a real change in him. Hugo and pip are very close.  He has helped her through some terrible times at school.  It’s amazing what a comfort a horse can be, i think its their huge phsyical presence and the eyes that seem to look past your face and straight into your heart.  He has been her rock and her teddy bear, but most of all her best friend.