A letter from our long-time supporter, Louise Brandley
By Louise Brandley, Looking Good Boutique
Sometimes, during what otherwise seems like a perfectly normal day, something happens that touches your heart. Some seemingly innocent encounter or conversation takes place and quietly changes everything, altering your path forever.
This exact experience happened to me one September day back in 2008. I had recently achieved a lifelong ambition to have my own donkeys and had welcomed into my home two beautiful – if a little skinny and unloved – males.
I went to the Easy Horse Care Equestrian Store near Rojales to buy food for my donkeys. There, I chatted to Sue Weeding, finding out as much as I could about how to properly look after my two lovely donkeys. I was surprised to hear how emotionally difficult Sue and her husband Rod were finding it to sell their equine products because of all the cruelty, neglect and abuse they saw on a regular basis.
Sue was visibly upset, telling me about the general ignorance of good horse care, and even joked that she was thinking of starting a rescue centre for these abused and abandoned horses and ponies. As an afterthought, she said: "But what would we call it?" I flippantly said: "Well obviously it would have to be Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre" as the tack and feed shop were already established. We both laughed and said: "What a mouthful, that will never happen." I will never forget that day.
Oblivious of the huge events this conversation would lead to, I empathised with Sue on how hard it must be as a horse lover to see such blatant cruelty all around her, then purchased my lucky donkeys their food and treats and went home.
But as someone famous once said: "Be careful what you wish for." For that was the beginning of a complete life change for Sue and Rod Weeding, the amazing couple behind the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre.
Later that same week I spoke to Sue, who seemed to be a little distracted. I now know she was in panic. A customer of hers had told of a young horse that had been injured in a stable accident and was being left to rot in a space barely big enough to turn around in and with an eye so badly damaged it would eventually have to be removed.
Sue seemed determined to intervene and rescue this horse – who became the first "resident" at her then non-existent rescue centre! This beautiful young horse is Luciero and he is still lives at the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre today, waiting for his adoring public to admire his stunning good looks.
From there, the rescue centre idea sort of hit the ground running. Ready or not, the abandoned abused and neglected equines had waited long enough for someone to offer a lifeline. The reality was that once lit, the touch paper could not be extinguished.
Sue and Rod had retired to Spain, found the perfect finca and intended to take life easy in the Spanish sun. Oh, how wrong they were. I am sure they never planned on having almost 100 horses, donkeys, mules, ponies and minis, all of them with the "baggage" that comes with any mistreated animal.
I have heard a lot of the terrible stories that led to the rescue of some of the residents and these stories would break even the hardest heart. I have seen Sue and Rod open their home to the public for rescue centre open days, work 365 days a year, do anything to get a vulnerable animal out of danger and turn themselves inside out trying to raise enough money to keep things going. This would be a challenge even to Richard Branson!
Volunteers are what makes the day-to-day running of the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre happen; special people who offer a little or a lot or what they can. A couple of hours in one of the eight charity shops, some time at the rescue centre helping with the welfare of the animals or working on the ongoing building and maintenance work, driving the delivery and collection van for the shops or supporting fundraising events.
Volunteers make all the difference and life a little easier for everyone involved. Please do not hesitate to call Sue on 652 021 980 or visit the volunteering page if you can offer any assistance. One volunteer they are desperate to find is someone with computer skills who can help out with social media. Please, if you can, help with this extremely important part of the charity.
Everyone can help by putting change in the collection tins that are around our area. In my own shop, I have added an extra button on my till that prompts us to ask our customers if they would like to make a €1 donation that I add to their final bill. Every little bit helps and it all adds up.
At my monthly fashion shows, the raffle money always goes into the collection tin and I have also persuaded my biggest supplier, Joseph Ribkoff from Canada, to donate dresses that I sell or raffle with all the money raised going to the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre. They are happy to help such a worthwhile cause. They visited the centre and immediately agreed to help. You, too, can visit the centre, meet the residents, learn their stories and see how you can become involved. Open days are held on the first Sunday of every month.
If you would like to know more about volunteering or fundraising for the rescue centre, come along to a cava morning on Tuesday, November 24 from 11am at the La Zenia charity shop, where we will also offer homemade cakes for sale. The shop is located at Centro Commercial Zeniamar, Calle Maestro Torralba, La Zenia.
Sue will be on hand to answer any questions you may have and you can meet the shop volunteers and find out more about this truly amazing place near Rojales that offers a lifeline to animals in desperate need. This unique centre really matters. What Sue and Rod do is really important – it has touched my heart and maybe it can touch yours too.
As Sue and Rod say, maybe you can't change the world by saving one horse, but you can change the world for the horse you save.