Fiesta has been with us for a few years now and is typical of the kind of ill treated animal that DHAPS rescues. Her heartbreaking story was told to us by Rosie one of the two young sisters who found her.
Fiesta had been abandoned late on a Friday afternoon in October on an industrial estate in Guildford. A young girl working in one of the car showrooms was looking out of her office window and saw a group of horses being turned out of a horse box, she remembers at the time thinking "they don't look like some-ones pet horses" as they were very thin and boney. She called the RSPCA and Horse Watch and leaving the office that night for the weekend, hoped that these two organisations would make sure that the horses were ok.
Returning to work on Monday, she found out that several of them had been picked up by Horse Watch and one had made its way out onto a public highway, where it had been hit by a motorcyclist. The horse died and the cyclist was in hospital. On her lunch break she went out to see if they all had been removed but to her astonishment, a very nervous, thin and scrawny chestnut mare covered in cigarette burns was still out the back of the garage. She again called horse welfare organisations to come and pick this poor mare up, but to no avail. By late afternoon she knew that she would have to sort it out herself.
With the help of her sister they arranged for Fiesta, so called as she worked for a certain car garage, to go to a local riding stables where her sister had her horse. Tabitha then took over her care, getting the vet in and feeding her and worming her. She arranged for a chiropractor as Fiesta's back legs were injured and she had problems walking. The vet said this was probably due to years of abuse and pulling a cart at high speed on the road. She has also been hobbled with wire which over the years had eaten into one of her back legs. And of course she had been used as an ashtray, hence the cigarette burns.
After a few months of veterinary care and love from both girls a new home needed to be found as neither girl could afford to keep Fiesta in livery, which was devastating for Tabitha. A home was found for Fiesta as a companion for another horse. So along with all her new rugs and horsey bits, off she went leaving the girls very upset. They thought they had truly found her a happy ending. Not long afterwards, Tabitha got a call from the new carer asking about riding Fiesta, but of course this couldn't happen, she was a companion horse, she could never be ridden again due to her injuries so the happy ending didn't happen at all, as she was dumped back again at the stables. The stable owner was none too happy and told the girls that either they move her on or she would be put to sleep.
Both girls in tears knew they had to find a permanent and loving home and so started to trawl through the internet contacting lots of equine charities but all were full. Thankfully a call was put into us and the next day, Debbie the manager at the time, called Tabitha back and offered Fiesta a forever home, so in the in the end a happy ending did happen. Fiesta will never leave the full time care of Devon Horse & Pony Sanctuary and we continue to gain her trust again in humans.