Tamarisk & Fleur
Rescued: February 15, 2018
The call came in late one Thursday night: police were about to seize two horses left to starve in a finca in Alcantarilla, Murcia – a huge operation involving around 15 policemen from both the national and local police forces.
Rod rushed to pick up the two mares, who we believe are mother and daughter. At the property, he found a heartbreaking situation.
The older mare, who we later named Tamarisk, was covered in scars and in one of the worst states of malnutrition we've ever seen, her bones jutting horrifically from her skeletal body. Likely used non-stop for breeding, this brave mare was extremely dehydrated, weak and close to death. Thank goodness the police acted when they did.
"When she came in, she was like a house with the curtains pulled across all the windows. It’s like that with so many rescued horses: there’s nothing there, they give nothing away, they give no eye contact. They won’t reveal anything about themselves," Sue later told American publication, The Dodo, which published a beautiful story on Tamarisk's rescue.
Tamarisk's condition was so poor we at first thought she was an old horse of about 20 years. Later, we discovered she was actually only nine. "She’d been completely beaten into the ground. There was scarring all over her. God knows what she’s had to do. We’ve never seen a young horse so broken down," Sue told The Dodo.
Thankfully, the second mare – who we later named Fleur – was in a much better state. While she was dehydrated and very hungry, she wasn't anywhere near Tamarisk's level of starvation and recovered relatively quickly.
With Tamarisk, we had to take it very slowly, little by little, to let her body grow strong. Gradually, as she gained weight, she was healthy enough to be wormed. Then the pair of mares were well enough to have their feet trimmed. And, slowly, slowly, they began to trust us, too.
“She’s bright-eyed now, her ears are up, she’s alert. It’s like the veil is lifted and she’s actually looking at things ... I’m getting a bit of eye contact," Sue told The Dodo, just a few weeks after Tamarisk's rescue.
So what's in their names? We chose 'Fleur' because this young horse is like a little flower, who will grow up and open herself to a new life.
Tamarisk was Sue's choice, as this brave girl's face reminds Sue of a horse she has years ago in England.
We were so grateful to the numerous national and local police officers for their professionalism and assistance during this seizure. "I've never ever seen so many police involved in a rescue. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing, it was absolutely incredible. They've done everything they could to help in every way," Rod said afterwards.
It's so encouraging to see police in southern Spain beginning to recognise the importance of protecting animals against abuse and neglect. It makes all our hard work feel very worthwhile.
As a non-profit foundation staffed almost entirely by volunteers, we rely on your donations to continue our work to save horses like Tamarisk and Fleur, and to cover their ongoing feeding and care costs. Find out how you can help here.