Rescued: October 10, 2010. Adopted: August 5, 2011.
Young Jacob was found tied to a tree in a small orange grove behind an industrial estate, left with no food or water and very little shelter from the blazing Spanish sun.
Armed Almoradí police officers had taken us to the scene to rescue two miniature ponies, urging us to hurry as it was a dangerous situation – we needed to get the ponies out quickly before their owners returned.
We found the minis, who we later named Napoleon and Nelson, in an absolutely horrendous state of starvation. What’s more, across a narrow pathway we unexpectedly found another two starving horses tied up – young Jacob and his mum Sophia, already pregnant with another foal. (She later gave birth at our rescue centre to a healthy filly, who we named Katy-Rose.)
Concerned about repercussions, police advised us to place Nelson, Napoleon, Sophia and Jacob in hiding for several months until they gained enough weight to be less recognisable. Kind volunteers housed them all until, eventually, we brought the minis and Sophia back home.
But Jacob proved more problematic.
He was quite a difficult young horse, quite pushy and opinionated. Clearly, being brought up tied to a bush had not served him well.
That’s when we received a call from Julian Nicholson, who offered to adopt Jacob as a companion horse for Nero the donkey – another previous rescue of ours, who had lived with Julian in northern Spain for several years.
Not long after, Julian and his partner decided to move south to Murcia. They were so inspired by our animal welfare work that they decided to set up their own animal sanctuary in late 2011. They called it Jacob’s Ridge, in honour of our boy Jacob.
Jacob now lives at this sanctuary with more than 120 other animals, where he is part of a herd of 14 rescue horses. Although he used to be the boss, the introduction of another gelding, Bandit, has pushed him down a peg and is now second in command.
Julian tells us that Jacob mostly prefers his own company but will enjoy a mutual grooming session with the other horses if he feels like it. He has a strong bond with Julian and although he constantly tries to push boundaries, he knows ultimately Julian is in charge.
“Jacob loves food, as perfectly demonstrated by his fat bottom. He always has one eye open for any grub that might be coming his way and stares up at the house at feeding times, whinnying as soon as he catches sight of us,” Julian tells us.
“Although he is quite boisterous and demanding, he is a big baby at heart who runs away at the mere sight of something unfamiliar to him, like a water bottle.
“He is a very bolshy character who has no spatial awareness. He likes to explore you with his mouth, seeing if he can get away with a little nibble.”
Little wonder, then, that Julian tells us Jacob’s favourite thing to do is eat, eat and eat some more.
We are so happy to have worked with Spanish police to save Jacob from such a serious case of neglect, then helped place him in a happy and peaceful new forever home. This is exactly why we do what we do.
Interested in giving a horse like Jacob his new forever home? Please visit our adoption page to learn more.
As a non-profit foundation staffed almost entirely by volunteers, we rely on your donations to continue our work to save horses like Jacob, and to cover their ongoing feeding and care costs. Find out how you can help here.