Rose’s Story

Name: Rose (previously known as Ginger)

Date of Rescue: September 2008

Rose and her foal were among a group of emaciated horses rescued by the Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT) from a field in the midlands. There were also a number of horses in the field who had died of starvation. After being removed from the field Rose and her foal were taken to the IHWT facilities. Her foal was put on a drip for a week to aid his recovery. Later that year Rose moved to Festina Lente.

Rehabilitation Process

Although Rose was physically well when she came to Festina Lente it soon became apparent that Rose’s treatment in the past had given her little reason to trust people. Over the next two years, Rose’s programme included her getting used to people going into her stable, putting her head collar on, leading her in hand and being groomed. When she began to take part in riding lessons, the biggest challenge we faced was putting the bridle on and off. Rose did not like being touched around her ears which suggested that this part of her face had been mistreated in the past. Initially we had to remove the bridle piece by piece as it was not possible to remove it as one piece. A further problem we faced was Rose’s refusal to walk forward. She would freeze on the spot. Using excessive pressure was not the answer and her trainers reverted to painstaking groundwork in order to gradually build Rose up to ridden work.

Rose working in a therapeutic riding lesson

Rose today

Six years later, Rose has developed into a lovely dressage and jumping horse and has become an icon in Festina Lente for her contribution to equine assisted learning. Her strength in this programme is her high level of sensitivity which is also her vulnerability – so great care is taken when she is involved in this programme. As a very sensitive horse, she needs a lot of maintenance particularly in the summer months and wears a sun mask and sun cream. Rose can also require a sun sheet. Rose was fortunate to have been rehomed in an organisation with a high level of patience, understanding and commitment to her retraining – and of course we are fortunate to have a horse who has offered so many people many pleasurable hours of riding and equine assisted learning.

Rose today