The Hill View Farm Animal Refuge is home to a wildly jumping and cantering collection of dogs, donkeys, ponies, horses, cattle, buffaloes, sheep, hens and a cat. All of them rescued from neglect or abuse or as orphans. But the farm is also home to me and Nigel and our two daughters. Having an animal shelter right at your home doorstep is sometimes crazy, always challenging and never boring. Orphan baby donkeys straying into your kitchen in search for some treats, bunch of three-legged dogs greeting you happily in the morning as you open the door, rescued cattle grazing peacefully and looking so beautiful and the ex-race horse Raksha enjoying his retirement away from his past life first in the race-course and then as a tourist riding street horse living on the roadsides of Ooty. And when you add the fact that we live right next to the Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary and tiger reserve and have elephants regularly breaking through our fences to visit our garden, you get the picture of the wild and wonderful life that ours is.
With this text I would like to invite you to be part of this life.
On the 3rd January 2016 Nigel got a call just after dawn that there is a young foal wandering alone down the Kalhatty road, far from the areas where the other Ooty street horses roam. Our 11 years old daughter Emma loves animals and has grown into a skilled horseperson and so she got ready to go along with her father and couple of boys to the cold winter morning to rescue this horse.
The baby stallion had walked over 20 km and was exhausted, shivering and bleeding from its hooves. Emma held him in the pick-up to keep him calm during the journey. We prepared a stall for him with deep bedding to protect his hooves and 7 other rescued ponies as his stable-neighbours to keep him company. Wonder is old enough to be able to graze quite well but he still requires also his milk feeds 4-5 times a day. As he gets older and if his owner won’t come to claim him, Wonder will be introduced to the other rescued horses of the farm. He might make good friends with Aladdin – the now two year old orphan pony whose mother died of plastic impaction colic when Aladdin was just one day old or with one of the ex-circus ponies (Rain, Oscar, Felix, Caspian, Belle, Yasmine and Spirit) or with Sultan – the horse that was confiscated from its owner who used to hammer horse shoes 6-8 times a day and remove them to sell to people for good luck. Sometimes we will take Wonder to the river behind our farm for a cooling bath. Our horses love that! He will get to help in our Silver Shoe –ponyclub activities that encourage children for animal care and compassion while also teaching healthy life skills.
The Hill View Farm Animal Refuge is maintained by a registered trust, India Project for Animals and Nature (IPAN) with funding based on donations from individuals. In the past IPAN had received some grants to support some building and construction works of the shelter structures but for the daily maintenance, animal feed and staff wages we rely only on donations from individuals. Supporting our work by ‘adopting’ one of our permanent residents is an excellent way to become a part of the IPAN team and a great start to the New Year 2016 – year full of compassion!
Olen Ilona, kolkytjarisat eläinlääkäri ja kahden ponitytön äiti. Tulin Intiaan yli kymmenen vuotta sitten vapaaehtoistyöhön ja jäin sille/tälle tielle. Blogissa kerron elämästämme ja eläimistämme Intiassa.