An­i­mals set­tling in to their new home

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sounds Good - by Michael DeFroand mde­froand@thek­m­

A HORSE sanc­tu­ary has ar­rived in Wit­ter­sham on a grand scale.

Sara Ross has moved The Horse Refuge from Es­sex to Do­bell Farm in Wit­ter­sham – a hefty op­er­a­tion that saw more than 150 an­i­mals trans­ported to their new home.

She said: “As well as horses, we have geese, ducks, chick­ens and a goat called Colin.”

But it is the horses that dom­i­nate as Mrs Ross en­deav­ours to re­store to health and to re­home most of them.

“We have 40 per­ma­nent res­i­dents who have been so badly abused – so se­ri­ously trau­ma­tised that they are not re­home­able. We are fos­ter­ing a cou­ple of hun­dred oth­ers.

“Horses come in all the time – this year par­tic­u­larly be­cause of the credit crunch.

“Peo­ple can’t af­ford to look af­ter them.

“The sen­si­ble peo­ple will con­tact the sanc­tu­ary, but some horses are left starv­ing in a field.”

Mrs Ross de­scribes the scale of horse abuse as “an in­cred­i­ble amount of mis­treat­ment” and re­lies heav­ily on do­na­tions to keep go­ing.

Among her horses – “I’m very proud of all of them and they look beau­ti­ful” – is Duke, the big­gest horse in Europe.

“He is 19.3 hands,” she said. “We saved him from go­ing to France.

“He came from the Peter­bor­ough area. We get them from all over the coun­try.”

While the work is con­stant and hard, Mrs Ross feels that the re­sult is worth ev­ery minute.

She said: “You see them come off the lorry and they look bro­ken, they don’t trust you and you can’t touch them.

“Then, when you gain their trust and they are re­stored to some sort of life, it is fan­tas­tic.”

Peo­ple are wel­come to visit The Horse Refuge and to spon­sor a horse.

For more in­for­ma­tion ring 01797 270555 or visit www.the­

Pic­ture : Gary Browne PD1522767

Sara Ross and Duke, the big­gest horse in Europe

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