Welcome Letter

Earl’s Story

Hi My name is Olive Barrett I am currently training to become a therapeutic riding coach at Festina Lente. I moved to Wexford in May 2015 after living in Co. Sligo for three years, where I did work experience in the North Mayo Horse Sanctuary as part of the horsemanship course I was doing. It was here I met Earl, a piebald. I instantly had a connection with him and I decided to foster him and five other horses from the sanctuary for the summer. During their time with us they loved being outside. I was lucky to be able to walk out of my house and they were all there to see. Earl and Mucker were best buddies and were inseparable.

General circumstances of rescue

Earl came to the sanctuary after he was found lying in a mucky field with a small Shetland. The vet said he was dying due to eating ragwort. Gerry, the founder of the sanctuary, organised a team to care for him around the clock. He wanted to give him a week to see if he had some fight left in him. After five days, he began to have the energy he needed to stand, fight and win. On the day he and his buddies headed back to the sanctuary after their summer holidays with me, I told Earl I would come back and get him. In May 2015 I moved to Wexford to a house with land and stables. I went back to the sanctuary and took Earl and another skewbald called Deago. I am training them to be therapeutic riding horses and they are making steady progress.

Rehabilitation Process

All the horses I have adopted get time off to settle into their new environments. I begin rehabilitation by introducing head collars. For some of the rescue horses this presents no problem, but for some a slow approach is needed. For stable manners I ask for a back-up before giving them feed. I use pressure and release with them all. Most of the horses are barefoot. I have removed nose bands and martingales from Earl, and I am working on Deago to remove his. I introduce various activities while using the bare back pad; I can lie my head onto their hind quarters while touching their tails.

Current situation

I have some livery horses at my yard. Myself and my husband do all the work, and my sister-in-law helps four times a week. I am still doing the therapeutic riding course in Festina Lente so I have lots of assignments. I have also adopted Whinnie, a Falabella; Mike, an ex-racehorse; Oreo, a foal who I rescued from slaughter; Torfu the Welsh pony, and Mimi, an ex-circus pony.
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