As we receive no government funding, despite working closely with the authorities, we rely on our volunteers and supporters to continue our rescue work. Sometimes when we are struggling financially it is hard to respond to pleas for help. During the most severe restrictions of lock down we were faced with a dilemma.  We were told about a group of equines, around 15 donkeys and 4 ponies, living in horrendous conditions in Alicante. The man who owned the property had died and there was some confusion over who owned the animals as none had microchips. The place resembled a rubbish tip and the only food available appeared to be rotting vegetables. ARCH were asked if they could take the ponies and the Refugio de Burrito were stepping in to find homes for the donkeys. It was a difficult decision in the prevailing circumstances, made more difficult because of the complications in getting the correct paperwork for the ponies to travel so far. (There are few refuges in Spain for abused and abandoned equines.) We had a quick reshuffle of our current residents and our intrepid driver, Salvi, undertook the long drive. After a 19 hour journey (made more difficult by unhelpful Guardia in Alicante who kept him hanging around for three hours) he finally arrived back at the Centre in the dark, having stopped in Almeria en route to pick up a donkey from the local dog pound!  With the expenses incurred in travelling and the probable amount of vets’ fees and farrier fees, together with the special food needed, ARCH were looking at somewhere in the region of 2000 euros. We are so grateful to all those who answered our Facebook appeal which made a huge difference.

Two of the ponies, Pepa and Maria, are very old, probably around 30. They were in a sorry state with their coats covered in old vegetable matter, bad feet and serious dental problems. They are still with us at the Centre and have perked up considerably with proper care and attention.

The Welsh cob, Lacey, had horrifically long hooves but was in much better condition and has gone to live with another of our rescues, Eclipse. The fourth pony, Kiko, turned out to be a “not quite stallion” (though he was unaware of his shortcomings) and he is now living at a stud as a teaser, with a harem of young ladies to entertain him and acres of land to run in.