The blog this month comes from Elena, one of the Sanctuary vets, giving us an insight into Appleby Horse Fair:
Some of you might not be aware that in June each year, The Donkey Sanctuary participates in a very large operation collaborating with a multi agency group (RSPCA, World Horse Welfare, Blue Cross and Redwings) and the local police to improve the welfare of hundreds of horses and donkeys that attend Appleby Horse Fair every year.
The fair takes place each year in the town of Appleby in Cumbria involving the congregation of hundreds of equines and other animals, which inevitably results in accidents and illnesses. The Donkey Sanctuary vet function is to help the team of vets and RSPCA inspectors attending any vet emergency, especially if a donkey is involved, but we also get approached with all sorts of different animals: puppies, birds, goats and sheep.
The welfare of the horses and donkeys has improved massively throughout the years thanks to the presence of the agency and the general feedback from the travelling community is actually quite positive. These are a few examples of some of the cases we had to attend to this year:
- A road traffic accident, where a car had crashed into a 500kg Cob (small horse) injuring him on his hock.
- A trotter with a very nasty choke which required hospitalisation to clear it.
- Lots of different types of wounds from not very well fitted harnesses and corneal (eye) ulcers from loose blinkers.
- A very dehydrated young puppy that was named Keith in honour of the RSPCA officer who helped him.
- A very infected wound on the eyelid of a Cob.
And Flash of course... a 4 year old donkey stallion who was found thanks to our welfare team (Michael and Pam) and the RSPCA near the flashing lane where they usually race the trotters at high speed. Poor Flash had very long feet and had two untreated sarcoids on his sheath area, however Flash was in luck and a nice team of farriers were on site and they donated their time trimming Flash’s hooves immediately. Flash was also treated for his sarcoids straight away and he is now on his way to recovery at our farm in Derbyshire, thanks to manager Chris Pile who came promptly on Sunday to collect him and take him to a safe home.
A big thank you to the farriers who helped Flash (James Newhouse, Thomas Oliver Dyson, John Benjamin Gardner and Matthew Berndes) and the teams from the RSPCA, World Horse Welfare, Blue Cross and Redwings for their hard work, commitment and help during the fair.
This has been my third year representing The Donkey Sanctuary during the fair and I am most grateful for the opportunity to participate in this yearly event. By the way, The Donkey Sanctuary won the RSPCA competition for best team picture of the fair – you can see it here, Elena, Pam and Flash with all the RSPCA officers!