OUR HORSES AND DONKEYS
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January 11th, 2015, Update - Lazarus, now aged about 15 or possibly
a little older, is as lovely as ever. He has a stable full of toys to play with and his
own pet hen who lays her eggs and broods her chicks in the corner of his stable. He loves
his time in the paddock and enjoys being used as a demonstration horse, but can still be
quite mischievous when being led out. He is stabled next to his life long friend Gibby. He
has developed a technique to get his headcollar off when he is tethered and he loves to
release himself and then go and tease the other horses.
Lazarus is really the true founder of the
Trust as it was his courage and fortitude which inspired us to start it.
When Stella first saw Lazarus her immediate
instinct was to put him out of his misery.
|Not only was he totally
emaciated, but he was so weak that he was unable to stand. In his attempts to stand he had
staggered and fallen over onto a fire, badly burning his leg.
Stella gave the owners advice on how to keep him as comfortable
as possible and purchased some food for him, then she went in search of a vet to put him
It took her five days to find the vet and
upon her return she was astonished to find that with just a small amount of nourishment he
had managed to stand and he was tottering around trying to graze.
It was clear that his recovery would take
some time and he was purchased by Stella. Later he became the co-founder and mascot of the
Trust. He is now fully recovered and is a gentle, affectionate horse.
Although we are not a sanctuary as such, we
do feel that Lazarus has earned his place in our 'team'.
January 10th, 2015, Update - Gibby continues
to be the placid, easy going, wise old man of our centre. Currently he enjoys a gentle
ride out into the bush each morning where he is tethered to enjoy the lush grass that is
growing well at the moment. Our Yard Manager, Ebrima, is usually the one to ride Gibby out
in the morning, with just a headcollar on his head and a saddle pad on his back - not the
way you might expect someone to ride a stallion out back here in the UK! Gibby is looking
very healthy at the moment and certainly seems to be enjoying his retirement at the GHDT
Gibby has been owned by the Gambia Horse and
Donkey Trust for a number of years, but only recently came back to live at our centre.
Until now Gibby was loaned out to a Gambian family who lived in a very remote area of the
country, and required a horse to do the work on their farm. Gibby has not only worked hard
as a farm horse, ploughing the fields and sowing seeds,
|but he has also been invaluable
as a form of transport for the family. Living in a remote area of Gambia can be difficult
in many ways, and the lack of any motorised transport is one of the things that adds to
this. By having Gibby to pull their cart, the family were able to take their farm produce
to markets further afield, and also to provide essential transport to their friends and
family when they needed to get to the hospital.
has spent a number of years working very hard for the family who took care of him, but he
is now reaching a mature age for a Gambian horse, and the family felt that they were no
longer able to provide him with the care that he would require in his older years. Knowing
that Gibby had helped their family so much, they felt it would be kindest for Gibby to
spend the rest of his days at our centre, where he can retire gracefully with round the
clock care from our team of staff.
January 10th, 2015, Update - Tallah is looking healthy at the moment
and is enjoying the fresh grass that we now have. Because of his wonky legs he no longer
goes far from the centre, so when the other stallions are ridden out into the bush each
day to a new grazing area Tallah remains much closer to the centre in his own separate
area, to avoid him having to walk too far. His mane is beautiful and long which is a great
help for keeping the many flies off of him and as always his coat has a beautiful shine.
Tallah is living proof that horses are able to
survive even a badly broken leg. Without any training, Tallah was put into a harness and
cart and his owner expected him to be able to pull the cart without any problem. Sadly,
Tallah panicked at the monster which seemed to have
|been attached to him and
immediately began galloping out of control. As you can imagine, Tallahs first outing
pulling the cart ended very badly, with a destroyed cart and Tallah receiving a broken
Fortunately for Tallah he was not far from
the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust, so we were able to take him in for treatment.
Tallahs owner would not allow him to be put to sleep, so it was our responsibility
to try everything we could for him. After a period of time with his leg in a cast, and
endless hours of expert care by our staff, Tallah made a recovery against all the odds.
Due to the extent of his injuries he is not
able to undertake a normal workload and because of this Tallah will always live at our
centre. Due to his traumatic experience in a cart we would never ask Tallah to pull a
cart, but he has been trained to do farming work and is well known in our local area for
being the best horse for ploughing during the rainy season, due to his exuberant manner
and endless energy! His aversion to water means that his furrows are not always as
straight as they should be as he circumnavigates puddles.
Tallahs legs are slightly deformed from
his injuries, but they do not cause him any pain and they certainly dont slow him
down! He is full of character and loves nothing more than an outing into the bush with one
of our staff.
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January 10th, 2015, Update - Neil is currently being tethered during
the day in different places around our centre to allow him graze on fresh grass. As per
usual, he is full of noise and energy when he is brought out of his stable each morning
and he leaves a loud trail of hee-haws behind him as he is led to his tethering area for
the day. He continues to be a perfect picture of health, with his excellent bodyweight and
gleaming, shiny brown coat.
Neil is a little donkey with a very big personality.
He was rescued as a foal by a volunteer who was visiting
The Gambia, so he has spent most of his life with us.
Neil produces very nice foals so he has not been castrated and is used as a stud. He is
lively to lead and drags most of his handlers in the direction he would like to go, but he
is very soft and loves affection. He is very lazy when in his cart though!
He considers Sambel Kunda as his domain and is always out to keep
other male donkeys in their place. He seemed to be able to escape from every paddock we
ever made for him until we imported high quality stock fencing to put against the post and
rails, then he escaped through the gate! Neil's claim to fame is that he has walked the
entire length of The Gambia and back again on a fundraising expedition with photographer
Jason Florio and his wife Helen. He had the important task of carrying all the camera
equipment and luggage on his cart.
January 10th, 2015, Update - Hedges.went through a phase when he
seemed to be very uncomfortable with his arthritis. We were questioning his quality of
life, but he suddenly perked up and seems fine at the moment, enjoying long days out
grazing and snoozing in the sunshine.
Hedges has always been selective about who he
likes and who he doesn't. He was rescued from the side of the road where he had been
abandoned as he had a high fever and a slightly clubbed
He was fostered by a Peace Corps Volunteer who already had our horse
"Benson" on loan for one of his projects and thought it would be appropriate to
have Benson and Hedges! He was well cared for and with remedial foot trimming his foot did
well and he was a useful donkey.
When his carer left the country, he was
returned to the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust where he was put out on loan as a project
donkey. Sadly as he grew older the foot deformity seemed to get worse so we withdrew him
from work and bought him home. Hedges has to receive very regular trimming by one of our
trained farriers to ensure that the deformity does not continue getting any worse.
Although he has been temperamental in the past, he has settled back home well and only now
bares his teeth if you stop fussing him.
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May 15th, 2015, Update - The last few weeks have been sad ones for
all of us at Horse and Donkey as we have had to say goodbye to our beautiful donkey,
Rhona, who had been with us for the last ten years, She was a wonderful mother and loved
interacting with people, which is surprising as she had been very badly treated in her
previous life. She was a very empathetic character and was regarded with great affection
by all the volunteers and staff. She will be greatly missed.
January 10th, 2015, Update - For the past couple of months
our dear Rhona has had to be on a diet! Though it seems strange to say that for an animal
in The Gambia, Rhona has always been a very 'good doer' and over recent months has indeed
been doing a little too well!! This does mean that she and her (now fairly old!) foal,
Stella, have been kept separately from the rest of the donkey herd in a smaller paddock
where our staff are more able to monitor her food intake! They have still been able to
chat with the rest of the herd over the fence to maintain their relationships and
gradually she is losing a little bit of her excess weight!
Rhona is the First Lady of The Gambia Horse
and Donkey Trust.
She is most certainly the sweetest and
cheekiest donkey in the Gambia. Rhona originally came to the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust
in a terrible state having been very badly beaten.
Rhona's harness had rubbed so badly that her shoulders were
raw and she tried to stop in order to prevent more pain. Rather than checking to see why
she had stopped, the thoughtless young man who was working her for her owner just beat her
more. Having made an excellent recovery Rhona clearly realises that she landed on her
feet, and she lets everyone she meets realise that by giving them a thorough loving! She
adores affection and also loves to return affection . Rhona is very fond of food and will
eat almost anything! She especially loves watermelon, papaya and pumpkins.Whilst we have
chosen not to use Rhona for working due to the ordeal that she had been through before she
came into our care, she makes a wonderful demonstration donkey and has been used to help
educate local farmers and has also visited local schools to help with teaching the
children. She is well known amongst our Donkey Club members because she is often used if
one of the childrens own donkeys is unwell she is faster than most of the
other donkeys (once you know her magic buttons!) so the Donkey Club boys get quite excited
if they are allowed to use her! Rhona is a wonderful mother and has foaled several of our
project donkeys who are now able to assist poor families by working for them under our
May 20th, 2016, Update - We are very sad to announce that
Maxine has now passed away.
January 10th, 2015, Update - It is wonderful to be able to
say that Maxine is currently looking better than she has in quite a number of years!
Maxine has struggled with ill health over the past few years but finally it seems that she
has fully regained all her strength and for once she even has a little bit of a belly! She
has suffered from depression in the past which resulted in her withdrawing herself from
the herd, but I am delighted to say that she is now fully integrated with the other
donkeys once again and seems to have developed some great bonds with a few of the others.
She is still a shy girl when it comes to human contact, but she seems very happy and
content in herself and it is so nice to be able to give such a positive update on her this
Maxine came into our care in a poor state of general
health, with an extremely badly strained back and a seriously ill foal at foot. Due to the
amount of strain she had been under her back is permanently distorted and she has a
slightly odd, elongated shape to her body and a curved spine. Maxine is a very shy and
introverted donkey who prefers to keep herself to herself.
She is very good natured and
makes an excellent mother to the foals that she has had. Maxine has had foals who are now
old enough to be trained and used to help poor families in the local area, by working for
them under our Donkey Project scheme.
Maxine always keeps an eye on Troika and keeps her company
if she cannot keep up with the other donkeys.
January 10th, 2015, Update - Sizzler has made an excellent recovery
and as he is quite an old chap, he will remain with us for the rest of his days.
Sizzler was in a desperate state when we took him in a year
ago and it was touch and go whether we would be able to save him due to the extent of his
malnourishment. Not only was Sizzler emaciated and weak, but he was also deemed by one of
our volunteer vets to possibly hold the record for the oldest horse in The Gambia! It has
been a very long, slow process to help Sizzler to regain any kind of condition. He had
severe gastrointestinal problems which meant that for some time he was unable to absorb
the nutrients from his food properly, but with dedication and lots of trial and error we
finally seem to be making really positive progress.
Sizzler also has hardly any teeth, and the teeth that he does have are extremely worn
down, making it very difficult for him to eat the very coarse groundnut hay. We buy
special 'leaf' hay for him, which is easier for him to chew and he has also had lots of
aloe vera to help with his stomach problems, which has had a really positive effect.
Understandably, Sizzler is rather protective around his food and
this is almost certainly because food is so important to him, having been starved
previously. He is a real character and has really come out of his shell since he has
started to really pick up in physical health. We are also delighted that he has been able
to be turned out with one of the other stallions in our care, Charlie. These horses will
have spent most of their lives unable to interact with other horses, because stallions are
typically tethered at all times when they are not working. It has been lovely to see
Sizzler and Charlie start to develop a friendship and enjoy spending time in our paddocks
We don't know how many years Sizzler will have left, but
after the life that he has had he really deserves to live out his days in comfort, free
from distress, pain and hunger and we are glad to be able to offer that to him at the
Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust. We still have a way to go to get him up to full weight, but
we are well on the way now that all the other physical problems have been treated