The Big Move
Finally the time has come. We have been very excited and nervous because we actually didn't only know what was in store for us that day. At least we were well prepared - at least physically. A lawyer, a veterinarian and lots of strong and helping Spanish hands, who didn't only knew a lot about horses, but also about this kind of "horse soul molester". We were all there early. We waited for the first horse truck, which should begin with the ordeal of the first round: moving 12 horses to a better place.
The owner of this horrible land started arguing immediately when he realized that we didn't make a joke, saying we're here to pick up the horses. But with a few specific words from our Spanish friends and the presentation of the corresponding transport forms from our lawyer, it was quickly made clear who would win this battle. Then, the "inventory" took place. First of all we loaded mares with their foals. True to the motto "women and children first". In many cases two horses followed a mare: the obvious baby of a few months and also a one year old. So, we were allowed to take this horse, as well. It was very obvious how these poor mares where used all the time: as breeeding machines and selling the foals to others (without telling us, of course) or to the slaughterhouse. You could tell that the mares without a foal following them were pregnant.
It was a picture of horror. Malnourished, totally filthy, open injuries on the legs from all the rubbish on the premises and sometimes blind on one or both eyes, due to neglected treatment of eye infections. Even the die-hard Spaniards were appalled by this and could hardly hide their anger. Accordingly, the atmosphere was very tense and aggressive between the people. We kept it together for the horses. Otherwise the guy, who did that to these horses, would have been beaten up. The last horse that was loaded did that for us. Shortly before the mare got into the truck, she cut back and hit her tormentor several times - we named her “Queen”!
When we found parts of dead horses and donkeys scattered around on the premises, we wanted to leave as quickly as possible, before the situation could escalate. As if the horses had sensed that we were there to help. The initial excitement, anxiety and shyness went away. So we could load them fast. The patience of our Spanish friends helped a lot with this. So, we were able to bring almost 40 horses and foals to their new home on that day - horse by horse and truck by truck. A home without agony, tightness, food shortages and with constant medical care by a veterinarian on site. Especially for our many pregnant girls this was very helpful.
At the end of such a day, as hard and disturbing as it may have been, and looking at the faces of the rescued horses, we all knew why we made this happen. But we also know that there are a lot more waiting to be rescued!