30th October - Arthur is run down & killed

Arthur the Cat was, as those supporters who have met him will know, one of the most affectionate & gentle Cats I have ever known. All he ever wanted to do was nuzzle up to you & purr whilst "paddy pawing" on your lap. I have never seen him within a few feet of the stables block & was consequently shocked when the postman this morning asked me if we had "lost" a cat as there was one lying at the top of the drive. I went out to see & saw at once that it was Arthur lying on his side by the hedge at the end of the drive. I have to assume he was knocked down by a car, although there were no visible marks to confirm that. He was not the kind of cat who would have hurried to get anywhere & certainly was not the kind to dash across the road. He must have either been run over in the driveway or was sitting in the road & failed to get out of the way in time. People do drive round these lanes so very fast without a thought as to what may be round the corner.

We will miss Arthur very much, I am gutted. I only cuddled him yesterday & told him not to catch a cold this year as he had a bad bout of flu last year from which he made a total recovery. I am having to stop typing now as I am getting too upset

Goodbye Arthur, you lovely little Cat xox

29th October - World Vegan Day Stall

The animals wondered what was going on today as tea came a little earlier than usual, as we were off to Brentwood for a few hours to host a stall at the World Vegan Day event organised by Vegan Essex at the Courage Hall. We arrived at about 6 and had to leave at around 9:30 to get back to see to the dogs & cats in the house.

Thank you to everyone who bought something from our stall. After taking off the costs of buying the stock we made about £50 for the animals. We had some lovely organic fair trade vegan chocolate treats for sale, but unfortunately they didn't sell very well ! - So we have quite a bit left which we hope to sell at the open day on 5th December - unless of course Percy gets to it first !

Thanks again to everyone who did help us by buying something or making a donation in our tin !  - Also a big thank you to VegSX for our trophy !!

When we got home, Toby had (as expected) lost control & it took nearly an hour to clean him up & about half an hour to get the utility room floor back to some semblence of cleanliness - this is unfortunately the cost of leaving the animal for more than 5 minutes unattended !

27th October - Sanctuary Shop on-line

We have established an on-line shop through a company called Buy.at  This means that if you visit our shop & then go onto the websites of one or more of the 80 participating retailers and buy something, the sanctuary will recieve a commission payment. There are all sorts of retailers in the scheme from Marks & Spencer to Butlins ! This is a free service to the Sanctuary and details of how much commission will be paid are detailed in the shop. Click here to have a look.

26th October - Tower Hill Stables have a stall on Friday 29th

We shall be hosting a stall at Courage Hall in Brentwood Essex this Friday, at the World Vegan Day Festivities being run by Vegan Essex. If you live locally please stop by to say hello, hopefully we will have a selection of Vegan chocolate treats to tempt you !

22nd October - Florence Marathon

All being well I shall be running in the Florence marathon at the end of November. I am hoping to raise funds for the animals here and in Moscow. If anyone would like to sponsor me, or collect sponsors on behalf of the sanctuary, please send me a mail on the link above. Thank you very much.

20th October - New Rugs for Winter

A very big thank you to Sanctuary supporters Audrey & Ken for their wonderful donation which is buying six rugs for the older horses this Winter. As soon as I get them I will get some pictures of the gang wearing them ! Also thank you for the hose fittings as detailed on the wish list page - just what we needed to repair our many leaking fittings !

17th October - Winter Routine Starts

All the Horses & Cows are in from the fields now and in their Winter quarters. This means a 100% increase in effort (if that's feasible?!?) as now I will need to muck out all the stables & the concrete standing areas every day.

Max the Horse is sharing the field shelter standing area with Hank, Daisy & Driver Cows. Sonny, Kolyada & Peanut are next to them in another hard standing area & the eight youngsters are currently in the school. (menage)

Marinka & Olga Cows are sharing a large stable. I cannot put Marinka in with the other Cows as because she is crippled she would not be able to compete for food. Olga is far too small to go out with the big Cows but is very happy to snuggle next to Marinka.

The senior gang are all in individual stables - & glad to be in from the weather !

Today however, I had a rest from mucking out as Martin did it whilst I went to compete in a 10 mile race - the Tiptree 10. Hardly a rest !! - Fortunately, I won the race striking a blow for Vegan Power !! When I got back I still had to help with the mucking out as he hadn't quite finished.... 

16th October - Sooty the Cat goes to sleep

Sooty was one of 4 cats that were rescued from a house in Harwich as their "owner" had moved out & left them behind. Neighbours had heard them crying & alerted a local vet. I was contacted to see if I would take them. Sooty was by far the eldest, estimated at 18/19 & she was in poor condition. I thought we were going to loose her at the time, but she made a dramatic improvement and was a very affectionate but so so tiny cat. Her 3 friends, Barney, Bod & Bean were younger (& bigger!)  & lived outside, but because of her age Sooty stayed indoors becoming an almost permanent fixture on the back of the settee in the kitchen. Sooty did venture outside during the warmer weather and could often be found asleep in the garden or on the table on the patio. She had a very happy 2 years here at the sanctuary & met several people at the last few open days. At 21 Sooty had a long life, I know she had a peaceful retirement here & she did not suffer in passing away. She got down from the settee & lay on the floor - which was unusual for her. I knew in my heart she was passing and we put her in her basket. A few hours later she lost consciousness & passed awat in the early hours of the morning. I will miss her terribly.

4th October - Christmas Open Day Announced

The Christmas Open Day will be on Sunday December 5th from Noon. If you are a member of the Sanctuary you should have recieved an a mail about this over the weekend. If you did not receive anything it may be that I do not have your latest e mail address. I did get a few "bounces" !

Please mail me on the above link to confirm your e mail details - Thank you

Percy is looking forward to showing you how big he has grown and will be conducting a guided tour of his Pig Arc during the afternoon

3rd October - Winter Preperations

As the weather deteriorates, I have to get ready to bring the horses out of the fields and into their stables or onto the hard standing areas for the Winter months. At the moment all the stables are either full of hay or some of the smaller residents such as poorly Turkeys, Goats, Chickens and Peacocks !!

This weekend I have had a massive re-organisation of the animals to free up the stables as I expect that things will change over the next week & with the colder wet weather the fields just won't be able to stand up & will quickly turn to mud.

Betsy the new Goat & Felicity Sheep (see 25th Oct below) went across the road this afternoon. Felicity was pleased to be back with Baart, Homer & Stephanie & Betsy made friends with Florence & the Likely Lads who share the Sheeps paddock.

We finished up at about 7:30 this evening - thanks to the new lights down the stables (see 29th Aug below) we were able to work successfully after dusk. Tonight, only 4 of the Horses are in stables, Dolly, Simon, Holly & Pan. Charity & Skipio will be next to come in but they are wearing their winter rugs, so are fine at the moment.

1st October - Horses Page Updated

I have at last finished the Horses Pages ! - click here to see & click on the horses face to read their story & see a bigger picture. If you hold the mouse over their faces you should see what their names are !

25th September - Updates

The domain name www.towerhillstables.com is now working again ! - hurray - However the e mail is still up the spout - so please continue to use drwrinkle@btinternet.com to contact me.

Last weekend a new Goat called Betsy arrived. Her owners were moving and although they had tried to find a home for Betsy nothing had materialised. Betsy is currently living in a stable with Felicity the Sheep who had to come in from the field as she was a bit under the weather. She has made a full recovery and will go back across the road to join her friends & introduce them to her new friend "Betsy" in a week or so.

Thelma who is an indoor cat was desperate to find a home & I was asked if I would take her in. She is quite a large cat and has been known to strike out. She is currently living in her own room & has settled down. I shan't introduce her to the other house cats for at least a month.

Simon has also taken up residence at the Sanctuary. Simon is a Shire horse aged about 16. He was re-homed here following the sale of a riding stables where he had lived for many years. He is 17 hands & 1 inch high which is just 2 inched smaller than Dolly !

Marinka & Olga (from below) are both doing very well & are still living in the School. Percy Pig has made a full recovery and is charging about his field - when he isn't sleeping, eating or grubbing about.

Very sadly, Bunsie the Rabbit passed away a few days ago & also Rosie the Hen. I will miss them.

I am hoping that the dry weather continues for a while because as soon as it turns, the Horses & Cows will have to come in from the fields and we swing into Winter Mode with twice daily mucking out of upwards of 15 stables ! This significantly increases my worload, with the Florence Marathon now only 8 weeks away too !

Lastly for this entry I am sorry that we have not been on line via towerhillstables.com for so long now, but the circumstances were beyond our control. One of the upshots of sorting this out has meant that the "home" page has had to change & for the technically minded the page name was "martin" & it now is "index". We have had to change all the  internal "links" for the home page to the new one, but as the website has 140 pages now - we may have missed some ! - If you come across a link that takes you to the wrong place, please let me know & I'll change it - Thanks


I will get some photos of the new residents & post them onto the appropriate pages soon. I will advise when this has been done.

5th September - Isn't technology marvellous?

Thought it had been a bit quiet on the e mail front recently - I just found out that e mails being sent to "anything@towerhillstables.com" are not getting through (or even bouncing as undelivered) - I have altered as many of the e mail links on the site to my BT e mail address - which is working, so if you have sent a mail in the last few days please send it again as I haven't seen it. The button at the top of this page should work fine (famous last words) Can't get this looked into until Monday

30th August - Marinka the crippled Cow arrives

Following on from Olga's story (4th August below) you may have read that whilst we were collecting Olga the farmer mentioned that he had a crippled Cow that was going to slaughter & did I want her ! ...

Marinka has a problem with her front legs & she stands with them splayed out. She often eats by kneeling down too. We don't know what the problem is but she is otherwise healthy. When it was time to collect her, Jonathan & Graeme from Vegan Essex had just delivered the fruit they had collected for the sanctuary from Spitalfields & came along to help load Marinka. Fortunately she went up onto the lorry quite quickly which was better than we had imagined the case would be.

Getting Marinka off the lorry was however a different story ! - In the end we managed to get her off with Dan's (see below) help. It took however about an hour - most of which we left Marinka admiring the view & mooing to Olga.

I have put Marinka in with Olga for trhe time being & Olga snuggles up to Marinka trying to suckle from her ! - she is weaned off milk now, but I think she thinks Marinka is her Mummy. Marinka doesn't seem to mind

You can see her here - if you would like to sponsor Marinka or Olga or any of the other animals, please send me a mail on the link above - thank you


29th August - Let there be Light !

At a distant point on the past, the stable block had lighting in place for all the stables & corridors, however over the years most have packed up & I have been unable to trace the fault in the rather complex wiring ! (if you could see it, you would say "ah, I see what you mean"!) The past 4 winters have been difficult as post about 4 pm on a Winters day I was having to resort to a torch !

However, Sanctuary supporter Dan gave up his whole bank holiday weekend to re-wire the stables & fit fantastic new lights & some outside lights too. I am so very grateful to Dan for doing this and to Dan's sister Maxine who shared the costs with Dan, in what has been a tremendous boost to the sanctuary in preperation for the coming Winter.

2nd August - Working Party Helps with Fence Repairs

Special thanks to Garry, Kevan, Glen & Roberto who came over this afternoon to help with re-building a fence which had rotted away & a number of other jobs. Thanks for all your hard work - much appreciated ! - Click here to see the new fence !

21st August - Peacock Family arrive

Today Mr & Mrs Peacock & their three baby chicks arrived to stay. We had to build them a tempoary enclosure inside the stable block as the three chick although very small can fly !! When they arrived they almost flew off !!
As soon as they have settled and are a little bigger I will give them ther run of a stable & then ultimately they will have free roaming rights like the able Turkeys & Geese.

20th August - Percy almost back to normal

Percy Pig has continued to improve which is fantastic news - He was grubbing about in his paddock this morning with no outward signs of his illness. This is such good news but I will still keep an eye on him

18th August - Poor Lamby the Cow passes away

This was a totally un-expected tragedy as there was nothing wrong with him yesterday & yet when I went to feed them this morning I saw only Daisy, Driver & Hank waiting & no Lamby. I went further down the field and found him lying at the bottom of the field. There were no outward signs of injury. This is terribly upsetting as he was only 4 years old having been saved from slaughter & hand reared here along with his 2 brothers.

As all cattle have to be registered I had to phone DEFRA to arrange for his body to be taken away. This is never very pleasant as you can imagine. I just have to think of the 4 years he had at the Sanctuary, but whilst this is true it doesn't stop me from getting upset about his untimely departure from us

15th August - Percy Pig Seriously Ill

On top of everything else going on at the Sanctuary the last 10 days have been very stressful for me as poor Percy Pig has become very ill and was given almost a zero chance of making it by the Vet.

Percy came to me just before Christmas last year as a 1 day old piglet - you can read his story here.

Percy has grown quickly and the plan was to move him across the road to live next to the other large whites (Claudia, Jayne, Matilda & Amelie) and eventually move in with them. It is very difficult to introduce Pigs as they will always fight. When Amelie was introduced the other three gave her a hard time for the first week or so, but as she was bigger than them she was able to cope OK. her biggest problem was that she was very unfit and was quickly out of breath when being chased.

We sectioned the 4 of them into their Summer quarters & put electric fence between their paddock & the one Percy was to go into. He went in fine & was busy exploring when Amelie decided to barge past the electric fence & into his field. The three others didn't follow - thankfully. Amelie then had a heirachy fight with Percy - during which Percy sustained a nasty "nick" to his backside & several scratches on his flank.

After about 30 minutes of chasing him around, they seemed to settle together, although Percy was quick to run away should Amelie come his way. The next day I realised that all was not well. It was during that spate of hot weather and Percy didn't look very well. He was lethargic & looking very hot & was holding his head to one side - this is an appalling sign. I called the vet.

The vet arrived quickly & explained that an infection had probably got in through the bite & tracked up Percy's spine to his head & that the "head on the side" symptom is a sign of a meningitis type infection. He said that it could be treated with antibiotics - but when he took Percy's temperature it was 106. This changed the situation as with this high a temperature, Percy was in danger of imminent collapse & death. We had to get his temperature down immediately & administer a penicillin drug and an anti-inflamatory.

In the meantime we managed to get Amelie back into the other paddock & put a stronger battery onto the fence system.

Ben the vet adminstered the drugs & we ran a hose over Percy to cool him & I got some ice to pack round him & also a large tub of ice cream which he ate all of. Ben left us with a course of injections to administer & had to leave to attend another emergency.

Over the next 2 days we gave him his injections, but he was becoming more difficult to handle & frankly when a 200 pound pig doesn't want you to stick a needle into his backside & wait whilst you check you are not in a blood vessle & then administer the drug - there isn't much chance of you achieving that. I called Ben to advise we were having trouble with the injections & he was absolutely stunned that Percy was still alive ! - this is when he told me what he thought Percy's chances had been - literally none. (I hadn't realised this at the time - I knew it was bad, but though the drugs would make hime better)

We persisted with the injections & one week later Percy seems to be aproaching normality. He saw the vet again today, but no further drugs have been perscribed. I will continue to keep an even closer eye on Percy as we are not out of the woods yet.

If you are able to help towards the cost of Percy's treatment I would be so very grateful

4th August - "Olga" ...the calf that never was

A few weeks ago, I found out about a calf who had been born on a local farm, but had been registered with DEFRA one day late ! Because of this DEFRA would not recognise the animal and refused to issue a passport. Without a passport the animal cannot be moved or "used" in any way at all by the farmer without prosecution. The only licence DEFRA will issue in these circumstances is to move the animal to a slaughterhouse. (which would have been arranged in a week or so)

So - what to do? I contacted DEFRA and asked if there was any chance they would issue a movement licence for the calf to be moved here - the answer was NO.

As luck would have it, I was due a DEFRA visit that week (they come round to ensure that the animals you have reconcile with their records (you would notr believe how strict they are & they have the power to take animals away just like that). During my visit which went smoothly, I asked if they would again consider my request. The lady that came was very helpful & said she would enquire.

Again the answer came back as no. Fortunately I am very persistent & contacted them again & spoke to several DEFRA vets & also made contact with the cattle movement head office in Cumbria - anyway to cut to the chase, after various phone calls & checks had been made about the suitability of the Sanctuary they relented & said that she could come here - as long as I didn't intend to breed from her !!!!

So, we picked up "Olga" today ! She is 2 months old & has a lovely big white face - you can see her here

11th August - More Duffy pics added

Re Duffy below (7th Aug) - see some more pics here

10th August - Annie raises £316

Very special thanks goes to Annie who held several stalls in Norwich distribution leaflets and information about the Sanctuary. Annie raised £316 all together which is fantastic.

If you would like to do something like this to raise funds, please let me know. You need to have a licence from the local council to run a stall like this & I will find out what you need to do & let you know

7th August - Duffy comes to stay

Duffy is a 15 year old Border terrier who was living near Thirsk in North Yorkshire. Unfortunately his owners were unable to keep him and have been looking for somewhere to take him for some time. The larger organisations had all suggested that Duffy be put to sleep, however when I heard of his plight I said I would take him. He travelled down on Saturday & has settled in with the main Dog gang.  He is very cute and would be happy to hear from you. You can mail him on duffy@towerhillstables.com  Click here to see him (& follow the Duffy link)

31st July - Free Hay !

Very special thanks to Sue & Jim who have donated their entire Hay crop to the sanctuary. They have even picked up the bailing costs on the 250 bales - The Hay is fantastic too. This is a wonderful help for the animals - thank you very much

Also thanks to Rob & Graham from Vegan Essex who helped us collect it in & to Frank for the loan of his car to tow the hay wagon !

29th July - Two new Goats arrive

I was contacted by some people who had inherited two small Goats when they bought a building yard. They were not able to keep them and had been trying everywhere to place them in a home. I can only really take them due to the passing of Radagast & Gandalf. They had no names & so in memory of these two I have called them by their names. I will get their pictures posted onto the Goats page for when it is updated

25th July - Radagast passes away

Radagast the Goat developed an infection a few weeks ago & I immediately seperated him from the rest of the Goat gang. The vet perscribed a course of antiboitics & we thought he was making headway, but sadly he gave up last night & passed away. He has been here a few years now & came with Gandalf who passed on a few months ago & Treebeard who is still doing well. I have not had a chance to update the Goats page yet with these sad events but will do so soon. Even with this many animals it is difficult to cope when they pass.

16th July - Bo's pictures finally added

Bo the Horse (from 7th June below) has recovered well from his operation & I have posted his picture (at last) onto the horses page

16th July - Sharon raises £500 at the London Marathon

Special thanks goes to Sharon Davidson who raised a magnificant £500 from running in the London Marathon. A big thank you to Sharon for doing this & thanks also to everyone who sponsored her for the race. This is a great boost to sanctuary funds. Click here to see Sharon crossing the finishing line

15th July - New Horses Page

I am sorry this is taking so long, but I am having terrible computer problems with the software I use to make this site. It is called Homestead & I have recently upgraded to the latest version of their product & it has absolutely killed my PC. I have the appropriate specification PC but for some reason it just keeps freezing up & I have to continually re-boot - so far their support has not resolved the issue.

I have however managed to make a start on the new Horses page here, and this includes pictures of Pan who arrived in June (see 15th June below)

6th July - Free Hay !

Out of the blue I received a call this afternoon with an offer of 180 bales of Hay for free. The reason being that it had been rained on and was no longer fit to be sold as it will rot within a few weeks. However as I am using over 10 bales a day, I will be able to use it before it does this. The bad new was that as it is going to rain tomorrow we had to collect it this evening ! This is worth about £360 to the Sanctuary so an offer I cannot refuse - although my poor hands will beg to differ !!

30th June - Clippers Repaired

A while ago I was donated a pair of Wolseley electric clippers - the only snag being that they were not working. They are an expensive item & not something I could ordinarily afford as clippers like this are a real luxury item. We have been managing the animals that needed clipping out with an old pair of Dog clippers and several pairs of scissors !

Anyway, I decided to contact the manufacturer to see if they would be able to help me towards the cost of repair - if indeed repair was possible & very kindly they offered to have a look at them & if they could be fixed they said they would do it free of charge !

I posted them off & they have just arrived back, fully serviced & in fine working order and they have confirmed that there will be no charge for this.

This is fantastic news and I am very grateful to all the staff at Stockshop Wolseley who are based in Devon. They deal with all sorts of agricultural equipment and they web site is here Many thanks again for your help & kindness.

27th June - Open Day

The Open Day was a great success and the weather held out - just about ! A very big thank you to everyone as over £1000 was raised in donations.

Special thanks to the Happy Hamsters for organising the catering and to Cathy and her Mum Jean for organising the raffle & tombola !

Percy Pig surprised everyone who had seen him as a baby as he has grown considerably & Saracen, Barney & Arthur Cats were on stroking duty all afternoon along with Mrs T & her friend Mrs T & Monty & Judy Dogs who were helping with the leftovers.

June - Mark Easterbrook raises £420

Thank you very much to Mark for raising this for the animals and to everyone who sponsored Mark in the London Marathon - click here to see him !

15th June - New Horse Arrives

I have taken in another elderly gentleman Horse called Panache or Pan for short. He is 27 years old and has a tumour on his flank. The vet has said that it is not life threatening and it does not seem to bother him.

Pan is currently turned out with Kolyada one of the Russian horses and is enjoying a well deserved retirement. I am in the process of re-doing the Horses pages and will advise you when this is done as it will include pictures of all the horses, including Pan on arrival and pictures of Bo post his operation

7th June - Bo's Operation

Bo the Horse had his operation today (see 28th May entry below).
He is fine and comes home tomorrow - I will update with his progress over the next few days. He was a brave Boy, and is looking forward to being able to mix with the others in due course !

5th June Sheep Shearing Day

With the warmer weather now here, it is absolutely vital for sheep in the fields to have their coats shorn as unless this is done they can easily overheat or suffer from fly strike. Both of these conditions can kill within literally hours so getting their coats of this week has been a priority.

Overheating does not need explaining but you may not have come across fly strike before. This affects rabbits too and is basically when flys lay eggs around the fur of the animals rear end which hatch out & literally eat the poor animal alive. Thousands of eggs can be layed & the condition can appear within 24 hours - 48 hours later the animal may be beyond saving and in agony so you must to inspect the animals daily.

Like some Rabbits, some Sheep get messy behinds more often than others & these are the suseptable animals you must take extra care with.

Keeping the area clean in rabbits is important & with sheep it is important to cut away the messy wool so that the area becomes clean & less attractive to flys. Treatment with an anti fly strike cream is definately recomended.

Needless to say, the Homer, Baaart, Stephanie & Felicity had never been sheared before and were not entirely amused. Click here for the pictures !!

Shearing a Sheep is stressful for the animal so it is important to employ the skills of a qualified shepherd so that the stress time for the animal is kept to a minimum (just a few minutes for an expert).

3rd June - Pony Rescue

I can't seem to escape from helping animals !! Today I was on my weekly shopping trip when up ahead I spied Fire Engines ! They were not from my station but I soon saw that the problem was that a car had driven off the road & the accident had involved a child on a Pony. The child was unhurt but the Pony was loose and was running all over the road.

I got out & spoke to the leading Fireman who knew me. I offered to help catch the Pony whose reins had snapped and was in a very frightened state. I had a handy lead rope in the car & managed to successfully catch the Pony. I then had to wait till the owners arrived before I could hand him over & get on with my shopping expedition !

30th May - Basil & Augustus arrive

Today I took delivery of two baby hamsters in need of a home. They are now living in Chinchilla cages which are very large and ideal for the little chaps to roam about in. I will get some pictures of them soon & post them onto the small furries page.

If you would like to sponsor them for someone, please do contact me on the button above

28th May - Bo Update

Bo the Horse got his blood tests back today & these confirmed that he is as I had expected a Rig. (see 11th May below) A Rig is a male horse who has retained one testicle inside his body and therefore inspite of being castrated is still actually capable of impregnating a mare. He is in fact a Stallion !

A gelded male horse has a very low testosterone count (the scale runs from 0 to 50). Normal Stallions can range from 15 to 40. Guess what Bo's level is? ... 44 !! No wonder he is a handful.

In order for Bo to mix with the others (he can't mix with the geldings as he will fight them & he can't mix with the mares for obvious reasons !) he needs to undergo an operation to sort the problem out. He goes into the surgery on Monday to be operated on on Tuesday. You can wish him luck by mailing him on bo@towerhillstables.com

23rd May - Open Day Poster

As you may be aware if you are a member, the Summer open day is on 27th June. I have designed a poster to advertise the day and if anybody would like a copy to display at their office or anywhere else, please let me know & I will be very happy to send you a copy

21st May - Gandalf the Goat passes on

Very sadly I have to report that Gandalf passed away today. It was a complete shock as he was not an old goat and there were no signs that anything was wrong. He was still eating & running about yesterday but this evening I found him gone to sleep. He was the leader of the main goat herd & the others were standing around trying to rouse him by butting his horns with theirs. Gandalf was one of three Goats that I rescued from slaughter about 4 years ago. He was by far the largest & had the most magnificant antlers. He was a real character and will be dearly missed. This leaves the Goat gang at 18 & you can read about them here

16th May - Horses go out

As it was such a lovely day on Sunday & the warm weather has almost dried the fields up I let Dolly & her gang & also the seven younger horses out onto the fields for a run about & biy did they run! Click here to see

12th May - London Marathon BBC interview online

A number of members contacted me to say that they saw my minute of fame on TV just ahead of the marathon, but also quite a few people missed it. However I now have a solution ! A very nice company in Liverpool called EverMedia have converted the video tape into a computer file (mpeg) completely free of charge to the Sanctuary - which was much appreciated. Then a second company called Kibisis.com have allowed us to use a "free" demonstration copy of their software to convert the file into a "Flash" movie which you can view here

11th May - Problems with Bo

Bo is one of the rescued horses, but unfortunately for him (& for us!) when he was castrated (long before he came to me) there was a problem & it didn't work - Huh? how can that not work I hear you cry. Well the usual reason is that one testicle never decended & so couldn't be taken away. This means that Bo is essentially a Stallion and this demands special treatment. This type of horse is known as a Rig. i.e. he is supposed to be a Gelding (neutered male horse) but still has an eye for the ladies !!  As a sanctuary I cannot have any breeding going on as that rather flys in the face of what I am trying to do here, so this means that Bo can never mix with any of the mares. Also he cannot mix with any of the older Geldings as being a "stallion" (rig) he is far to boisterious for them & the risk of injury is too great. Also the younger male horses would not be suitable companions as the turnout areas I have are simply not big enough to cope with stallion antics. He is incredible destructive of fencing too.

Anyway I have been carefully managing the "problem" over the past few years, but always conscious that Bo, through no fault of his own, is a bit of a liability with the other horses, particularly the mares when they are "on season".

Today however whilst my back was turned, he broke out of his stable, smashing the bolt & had a go at Gwilliam who was standing about minding his own business. Gwilliam was not injured but was just a bit shaken & had to have an extra bucket of feed & carrots !

This incident has however demonstrated the sheer power of a stallion in prime condition & has led me to make enquiries at the Vet to see whether there is aything that can be done. The Vet I spoke to was Ben who saw to Dolly (2nd May entry below) and he expained that there is a surgical procedure that can be followed but it is quite a big operation. The first stage is however to conduct a blood test to confirm 100% that Bo is actually a Rig.

I will arrange for this to be done over the coming weeks & will report back here with the findings.

10th May - Molly at the Vets !

There are 2 Molly's here, Molly the Cat & Molly the Dog ! Molly the Dog, the German Shepherd, in fact is the one who is unwell though. I took Molly in a few months back with her friend Tilly a Bassett Hound. In the past week I noticed that Molly was starting to scratch her right ear and she had such a go at it last night that it was bleeding this morning. I arranged for her to see a vet and it transpires that Molly has a bad inner ear infection for which an operation may be required to flush the canal out. She has been prescribed antibiotics and two sorts of ear drops, but if things are not significantly improved by Monday she will need to have the Op. We all have our fingers, paws, hooves & claws crossed that the drugs will be effective before Monday dawns.

8th May - Vet out again

Dolly has been recovering well since her terrible ordeal last week (see below) but it was the turn of another of the elderly horses to see the vet as a matter of urgency today. Skipio is about 26 years old and is a thoroughbred type. He must have caught his leg on something when he was out yesterday as he came in quite lame on one of his hind legs. This morning the lower leg was swollen badly & I recognised the symptoms as being something called cellulitis. (Dolly had a case of this last Summer - it is where an infection gets in through a small nick or cut)

The Vet administered penicillin into Skipio's hind quarters and has left me with a 5 day supply of 20 ml injections to administer. Powdered antibiotic is an alternative treatment which is administered with the food, but the muscular injections (if you are prepared to administer them !) are usually more effective as they are absorbed by the body quicker.

The effect of the drug has been remarkable & in less than 24 hours the swelling has reduced and Skipio, whilst still limping, is able to get his foot to the floor - he was on 3 legs before ! - well wishers can mail Skipio on Skipio@towerhillstables.com

8th May £127 raised at the Vegan Festival in Manchester

Special thanks to Sanctuary supporter Billy who held a stall at the festival in Manchester this weekend on behalf of Tower Hill Stables, selling her home made Doggie treats and even a copy of Martins CD ! 

2nd May - Close call for Dolly the Shire

Today I nearly lost Dolly. When I opened the stables I found that Dolly had become cast in her stable. This means she is lying down & unable to get up. This is quite a bad thing for any horse, but for a large shire it is very bad. She had been trying to get up but couldn't manage it. Each "effort" takes a lot of energy & repeated failure to get up puts a lot of strain on the heart & with Dolly being 26 this is not good.

My blacksmith has often remarked that it is a feat to get a Shire past about 22 years, & so I know Dolly has done remarkably well to get to the age she is.

Martin & I tried our best to encourage Dolly to get up, but it was clear that a vet would be needed. The vet arrived in about 30 minutes but his prognosis was dire. He explained that we would have zero chance of getting Dolly up from the side she was lying on, as by now the back quarter & rear leg she was lying on would be numb - like when you sleep on your arm. The only chance we had was to roll her over on herself so that the side that was underneath became on top. This would leave the non numb leg & quarter against the floor & hopefully this leg would be strong enough to get her up.

By this time her breathing had become laboured & she was lying flat out & the vet asked if I would prefer to have her put to sleep as he really couldn't see her getting up. He explained that the sheer weight of Dolly pressing down on the underneath leg for so long would probably have caused permanent nerve damage meaning that she would not be able to bear her weight even if we could get her up.

Dolly is nearly 18 hands high & has feet like dinner plates & must weigh about three quarters of a tonne.

I insisted we try to roll her but the problem then was sheer manpower - we needed several more people & quickly, as before we cold roll her we needed to drag her away from the wall in order to make the space to roll her. If you can imagine she was lying with her back parallel to the back wall of the stable & feet lying towards the front. We had attached ropes to her bottom legs (front & back) but the three of us were unable to pull her away from the wall.

I made a few calls to people I knew but the nearest was about 15 miles away at the time, my Blacksmith Neil, he said he would come right away. However time was of the essence & we decided to try & use the back wall of the stable to "leg press" Dolly away from it. Thanks to my cycling days I developed very very strong legs & when I used to train in gyms I could always leg press all the weights on whatever machines they had there ! - so I found I was able to use this to literally "press" Dolly across the floor of the stable - as she moved we put a bale of hay between my boots & the wall, and another, and another. This way we managed to get Dolly into position to attempt the "roll".

Doing what I did was very dangerous as if Dolly decided to roll back on me I would have been crushed - but needs must.

The next move was by far the most risky as by this time we had established that Dolly did still have some strength in the leg that was taking all her weight as she had used it to kick out violently. We then attached ropes to the lower two legs and took these back across her body. The ropes were to be pulled to try & get Dolly to roll over on her back so that she would end up lying on her other side.

However as soon as we started, she resisted strongly kicking her legs high in the air, missing Bens head (the vet) by inches. A kick to the head from a pony can kill, from a shire, well you can imagine the damage. Eventually we had to hobble Dollys upper legs (tie together) as the risk of injury to us was absolutely enormous. This reduced the risk to merely massive!

Once again we tried & this time she went over - Ben had warned us that as soon as she had rolled she would try & get up & we would have to prevent her from doing this by holding her head down. The reason for this is that the side of her body that had been taking the strain would be in a terrible state - numb with pins & needles as we would say & to try & stand in that condition would be disasterous - she had to be made to rest whilst we tried to massage life back into the affected areas.

As Ben had said the now upper side of Dolly was hard, cold & wet with sweat. We madly massaged her poor body with our hands & clumps of hay - anything to try & encourage the blood to circulate through the damaged areas. Ben had already adminstered an anti- inflamatory drug to help with this.

Although I was delighted that we had achieved the roll, Ben quickly reminded me that Dolly still stood very little chance of survival as everything now depended on her ability to get up, as within 45 - 60 minutes the same problems would occur with the side she was now lying on. Furthermore if there had meen nerve damage she would not be able to get up.

Ben needed then to attend another emergency call but said he would pop back inside the hour. As he left, Neil the Blacksmith arrived and also a friend of my hay merchants - who I had also called in desperation - from a local farm. By this time Dolly was on her haunches & looked a little more comfortable.

Neil suggested that we let her rest for about 20 minutes & then try the next time she made an effort to get up. We propped hay bales under her where we could & then in an enormous effort Dolly got up. All of her legs were shaking & so were many muscles in her flank. I led her outside into the May sunshine & walked her round.

I won't even attempt to describe my relief - there are no words.

Ben the vet arrived shortly afterwards & really could not believe Dolly was up. She had been given less than a 5% chance of getting up. He had been convinced that he was coming back to put her to sleep & was so happy that Dolly had done it.

Dolly was given an anti-biotic to help her in case any of the damaged muscle tissue became prone to infection which can happen if it breaks down after the stresses placed on it.

I know Dolly is old for a shire but I so much want her to enjoy the summer having come through the winter which is always a tough time for the older horses. Dollys condition is superb & I believe this was a major factor in helping her get through this awful trauma.

Thank you to Dolly for not giving up & thank you to everyone who helped me today - what a day !

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This page was last updated on: June 30, 2012
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Sanctuary News May to October 2004