Rescued: November 7, 2009. Passed away: September 23, 2017.
Just by peering into George’s mouth, we could see that he had suffered terrible abuse. But we had no idea that before his mistreatment, he had once been a superstar.
We took George in when the English family who owned him had to return to the UK. They had been George’s original rescuers, literally saving him from the meat lorry where he’d been left for dead. They cared for him as a beloved pet until they, unfortunately, had to leave him.
This family had rescued George from a horrible existence. He had been kept permanently stabled in a livery yard, where the boredom had driven him to develop the habit of wind-sucking and chewing on his stable door. His then owners came up with a permanent solution to this problem – they cut out George’s teeth with an angle grinder.
The mistreatment didn’t end there. These owners jumped George excessively, causing his back legs to swell, and used him in Spanish fiestas. It was at one such fiesta that George, weak and malnourished, collapsed and was taken to the meat lorry, believed to be dead.
By the time George came to the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre, he was 21 years old. After many years of wearing shoes on the hard Spanish ground, he was having problems with his joints. We removed his shoes and, with the help of supplements, he lived a happy and comfortable life with us.
But George had another surprise for us. In 2011, we had a new farrier come to our centre and he recognised George. We were lost for words when Ana Sempere, a Spanish teacher of equine studies from Elche, arrived at our centre announcing she had owned George many years ago.
She told us George – then known as Fanny! – had been a professional showjumper. He had once even won a gold medal at the Comunidad Valenciana in 1998 and had grown into a real star.
When George later developed problems with his tendons, Ana retired him from jumping and continued simply with flatwork. She eventually sold him through her own livery yard, which meant she didn’t know who the new owners were. She had no idea about the abuse he later suffered and had believed him dead.
At our centre, George was able to enjoy his retirement. He loved to be in the fresh air, so we kept him outside 24 hours a day, rugging him up if it happened to rain. His lovely, gentle nature meant children adored him.
Perhaps it was his former fame, but our dear George expected five-star treatment – and we were more than happy to give it to him.
Sure enough, in late 2017, our boy George became a magazine star! George featured in Penny, a popular children's magazine sent to 40,000 households across The Netherlands and Belgium. He was treated to a special photo shoot with our volunteer photographer Elaine Warnock, then had parts of his story told in cartoon by Penny's artists!
We hoped that the children who read George's five-page feature were touched by his story and inspired to treat all animals with the love and respect they deserve.
This magazine feature was extra special to us, as we very sadly lost George just a few weeks after his photo shoot. In September 2017 we found George had passed away overnight, going peacefully without any sign of distress or colic.
We are so happy to have gifted George eight wonderful years of peaceful retirement after all he survived. Gone now, but never forgotten.
As a non-profit foundation staffed almost entirely by volunteers, we rely on your donations to continue our work to save horses like George and to cover their ongoing feeding and care costs. Find out how you can help here.
– Story written by Kate Le Gallez.