George’s horses – A tribute to Jackie

For the story so far please read Georges’ horses – Part One

One of the horses to arrive from George was Jackie. A lovely black TB mare. Jackie was aged but in good condition and, a horse with the most beautiful nature.

Soon after Jackie’s arrival we took in a filly, Rosie straight from the slaughter yard, where she had waited for two weeks for slaughter. Luckily, her fate changed and Rosie came to us.  See Rosie’s story at The secret hidden in the Rose.

Rosie needed love. lots of love. She needed someone to give her confidence and a feeling of safety, someone to heal her soul.

And in the paddock was Jackie. Jackie immediately adopted Rosie. She would share her food bucket, gently encouraged Rosie to mutually groom, watched over Rosie.

With more horses arriving I knew I had to rehome Jackie  as she was in good health and with an ideal temperament.  But I could not deprive Rosie of her surrogate mother and guide.

So I put Jackie up for adoption, with the proviso that Jackie and Rosie be homed together. A friend was looking for a safe riding horse (gentle occasional riding!) and Jackie fitted the bill. She was happy to adopt Rosie as well. This was an experienced, loving and caring home  and so, as hard as it was to part with them both, we were so glad that such a great home was offered.

The years passed.  Rosie has matured and able to live with other horses happily. Jackie looked after the young horses, always the mentor, always the guide, always giving comfort and confidence. Then she became the companion of an aged standard bred, and just recently all moved to a property even closer to us. Jackie never was ridden again, she just had a life of leisure.

So every day I could see Jackie  as I drove past, peacefully grazing with Johnny, her friend. I knew, however, that her health was starting to fail. I was always updated though and she was receiving every care. Jackie would rally but clearly age was catching up.

A few weeks ago Johnny peacefully passed. Jackie grieved and her health faltered. She had a new companion, was moved close to the house, fed, rugged, tested and loved….but we all knew it was just a matter of time.

Jackie last photo

Last night, comfortable and pain free, Jackie passed, to be with Johnny and to meet back up with George, Twinkie, Call Me Misty, My Misty, Rachael (the Filly), and all her other friends.

Bless you Jackie and thank you to Nat who loved and cared for Jackie in her final years.

Jackie will be buried at her home. Nat has chosen a lovely spot that overlooks our property.

Vale Jackie

A very different summer

Summer in 2015/2016 was tough.

With no spring rains, paddock feed disappeared quickly, hay crops were at 25% of usual harvest, hay was scarce and expensive. After 5 years of low rainfall, our dams dried up and we were buying in our tank water.


Luckily we were able to secure nearby agistment for the cattle. With the purchase of a round bale feed out trailer, we could to use round bales to feed the remaining pasture animals.

Many many animals were in need and it was not possible to rehome.


Then finally after months, the rains came, and came, and came. Just fantastic. The creek flooded, the paddocks greened up, and the dams actually overflowed.



It was all just in time, as we had fed out our hay supply and the cattle had returned from the agistment.

Unlike other regions, central Victoria has had a relatively mild Summer for 2016/17. Hot days have been spaced with more mild days in between. Although it is dry, there are episodes of rain to freshen the paddocks and fill the water tanks.

Hay harvest have been plentiful and there is still a good amount of grazing in the paddocks.

We now also have access to a 4WD diesel tray ute. This has made moving around the property and transporting feed and bales, so much easier. We have also relocated our feed storage and re configured our hay store to reduce the amount of manual handling of heavy feed bags and bales.

So with less time needed on feeding out, our focus has been on sorting out our infrastructure.


After ten to fifteen years many of our fences need upgrading. The changing weather causes posts to move, gates shift, and fencing wire needs restraining or replacing, as well as repairing some of the yards.  We also need to upgrade the electrical fencing and to fence off the access to the hay shed to make the stocking of the shed and retrieving bales easier and less fraught.

We started on our fencing upgrade in spring. Our contractor needed to take a break for hay harvest and will soon recommence to finish the work.


The sheep

We are planning to construct a new purpose built paddock for the sheep. Most of the sheep are happy ranging the olive grove but we have a few determined explorers who need very secure accommodation. PS the sheep below had decided to visit the cattle on their neighbouring agistment…this was on the walk home!

With he success of using our main shed for shearing in 2016, we will be working on having more available room in time for shearing 2017, as well as purchasing more portable panels for yarding and runs. With a flock of nearly one hundred sheep in residence at any one time we need to upgrade our sheep specific infrastructure.

We would also like to purchase a

  • sheep ‘deck chair’ from the USA to make the handing of individual sheep for hoof trimming more manageable.
  • a trailer hay feeder for our special needs sheep to reduce waste


The goats

With the increase in our goat residents we need two dedicated goat areas with suitable shelters and activity areas. At present our special needs goats are housed in the horse yards and loose boxes. We need to free up the these for new arrivals.

The rest of the goats are loving having the olive grove to roam. They have a dirt mound on the hill that gives them a splendid view of everything.  They have also appropriated the new studio….destined as WWOOF accommodation…not a long term option! The sheep, and often Samba the donkey, love sleeping under this structure but again…not a permanent option.


The poultry

With the recent assistance of two young travellers, we have rearranged the poultry accommodation. This is a work in progress.

So far we have emptied out the main poultry house so we can re-lay the bedding and put in new perches. The aim is for the chickens to be the sole occupants of this enclosure, which, over time, have been taken over by  the geese and the ducks. With this achieved we are working on integrating newer chicken arrivals with the flock.

The geese now have new sleeping quarters, totally separate from the other poultry and giving them more ready access to one of the dams.

Our next step is to set up new sleeping quarters for the ducks. This will need the purchase of a new poultry structure.

We will then have a larger  A-frame available for special needs chickens who need to be permanently housed separately from the flock.

The horses and donkeys

Last week three long term visiting horses have moved on, with Flip joining them. This, together with herd integration, has given us the opportunity to rest some of the paddocks. We have been  harrowing the paddocks after rain and will be keeping them free of grazing for as long as possible.

After a break over Christmas, the farrier will be back next week to start on hoof trims and there are a few horses needing their dental work brought up to date.

We then need to do organise our winter rug supply. At least three of the older horses are going to need their rugs adjusted and lined to lift off their withers.

Darling Louis, now well into his forties, will need extra special care this winter. He is very sprightly and alert but struggles to maintain weight.


We have also lined up a trainer for young George, now three. After some initial training on site he will go off site for further development. We will then be looking for a great home for

The cattle

The increased pasture feed has been such a boon for the cattle. This will not last over winter.  To assist with resting paddocks we are hoping to secure agistment on a neighbouring property for over winter and into spring.

Bess is ageing but still keeping up with the herd. Annalise and Rupert have both made wonderful recoveries from their dislocated hips and are now fully mobile.


The alpacas

Clarence and Henry are a very relaxed pair. As long as they have someone to look after, a small flock of sheep, or Robbie the pony, they are happy! Clarence continues to insist on visiting any paddock of his choice but he always has a purpose!

The vision

Our aim is to further improve the accommodation for the animals, caring for the land, ensuring we have readily available facilities for animals presenting in need, and using what we have efficiently and to ensure the safety of the animals and us.

As always, we thank you for your support.







Blind love

“I wish for all of us the blindness of love that makes us see no faults in the other.”
Kamand Kojouri

Many years ago, I received a call. Did I know of a home for a ewe? She had been rescued as a lamb, raised as a member of the household, but her carer could look after her no longer.

It was lucky that I did have such a home available. A friend had a pet sheep, and she needed a companion. So Blossom, as the ewe is named, made her way to a new home and lots of love and care.

Her companion died at an advanced age, and when her carer went on holidays, Blossom would stay with us.

Sadly however, Blossom’s carer became gravely ill and the time came when Blossom came to live with us permanently. She joined the flock however was always keen to come into the house, as she had done as a young sheep at her first home.

Then one day I noticed Blossom walk into a tree. Examination showed she had developed cataracts, and sadly, unlike in humans, this is not a condition that can be treated surgically.

So Blossom moved into our special care yard, with a shelter for nights and extreme weather, and is hand fed.

She has a variety of companions, depending on who is in the care yard as well.

Blossom is now at an advanced age so we make sure she has gentle friends.

Recently two young lambs joined us. Quincy had been found alone in a paddock, with no mother in sight. The farmer decided to surrender him into care. On arrival to the sanctuary he was found to have a condition that reduced his sight…and this was likely the reason he had become separated from his mother as the flock moved on. Luckily this little man had landed on his hooves at a sanctuary that could and did, provide him with the necessary surgery to correct his loss of vision.

Quincy and his friend, Smudge, came to us and moved in with Blossom until they are older an able to join the main flock.

Over the weeks I had noticed that Smudge would go on adventures, but Quincy always stayed close to Blossom.

Blossom has lost her sight and can never regain it. Quincy lost his sight and his Mum, but his sight is now back.

Somehow I feel Quincy is preparing to be Blossom’s eyes, while she provides him with a quiet safe presence, just like a Mum.

Bless them both.










George’s horses…, loss and compassion (Part 1)

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

Five years ago, a large horse transport arrived at our gate. With helpers on hand, we unloaded five ponies and horses to start a new life. There should have been six, but more on the mare who stayed behind later.

This rescue had started two years earlier. A caring social worker had made contact with Edgar’s Mission….’ Did they know anyone who could assist an elderly man, in poor health and in hospital, manage his eight horses?’

The man in question was George, who lived some distance from Edgar’s Mission. In his eighties’, for many years he had run a riding establishment, and now lived alone in an area fast being developed for housing, with his remaining equines.

George cared deeply for his friends, but health and finances made it hard for him to care for his horses, many of them of an advanced age. But he was terrified that if he asked for help, those in power would take his horses from him.

All he wanted was to live out his remaining days at home and with his beloved horses.

Pam at Edgars Mission contacted me to ask if I knew of anyone close by who could assist. Making call after call I tried to find a local horse group or a person who could help. The previous owner of one of the mares stated she could not help…but if the mare needed a new home she would take her back…..

In the meantime I had become involved in a local animal neglect problem. Seeking to find someone who could assist with a matter the authorities would not I came across an animal advocate who I shall call Bob. By chance I found out that Bob, an experienced horseman, lived in the same locality as George.

Finally someone local was willing to get involved. With a media campaign, volunteers were forthcoming, and other established horse groups came into assist with expertise and gear.

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A representative from TREW with George and My Misty

Over the months George’s horses received farrier support, vet care, rugs, and feed. Sadly two had to be euthanized due to age and ailments but George was thrilled to have his horses close.

George’s health was failing. I sent him some warm pyjama’s and chocolate for his birthday and had a lovely ‘phone call in return. I planned to make the trip to meet him, but the demands of a young daughter, a number of rescue horses arriving, and caring for our animals meant time was limited to do so.

I let Bob know when the time came I could take the little Shetland mare ‘Twinkie’ and her forever friend.

Then I received a call from ‘Bob’…George had died. He has asked Bob to care for his six remaining horses, but without land, Bob needed to find a home for them as soon as possible…..could we help?

Hastily we rearranged paddocks and waited for the transporter to arrive. The horses had been yarded the previous evening but one, ‘The Filly’, had escaped, and subsequently refused to load. As George had rented his premises emergency accommodation was found at a property opposite, and one of the volunteers offered to care for her.

On a clear sunny morning, the truck drew up. Two pony mares, a thoroughbred mare, a pony gelding, and a standard bred mare.

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Twinkie, a beautiful taffy Shetland was the first I saw. I cried. She clearly was not able to be in a paddock with hooves needing remedial work, her Cushing’s out of control and in pain from the trip. We arranged for  the truck to take her, and her faithful friend, My Misty, straight to the loose boxes.

Jackie, a thoroughbred mare, Call Me Misty, a standard bred mare, and Flip,the pony gelding were settled in the paddocks.

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A very overweight Flip

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Call Me Misty

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Jackie (at rear), Call Me Misty, and Flip (at front)


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My Misty

An additional five horses, two in need of high of care…….it was a big job. A visiting horse trainer offered to run a clinic to raise much needed funds, so amongst the other work we arranged a clinic on the property.

Our first priority was Twinkie. A specialist farrier attended and did her and Misty’s hooves. However there were more issues. Twinkie had been on Pergolide but it was out of date, and so her Cushings was not controlled.

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Twinkie after her trim. Vera looking on

Twinkie developed laminitis. Ballarat Vet Practice attended and we set her up in the stable with IV pain relief, fluid support, anti ulcer medication, and Pergolide, to get her back on track.

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My Misty. She had an eye condition…please excuse the loose headstall…it was temporary!

With Twinkie’s pain not resolving, we then discovered an abscess, which was also treated. After 48 hours intensive care, Twinkie improved, and for a memorable few hours, she and My Misty grazed on our lawn, happy and pain free. The vet was thrilled. Thirty minutes later Poss, who had been in a new paddock, presented with a leg injury, so I called the vet to attend the next day for both him and to review Twinkie.

Then overnight disaster struck. I had been checking Twinkie every two hours. At 2am I found her shivering with an elevated respirations. I called in the vet and Twinkie and I  waited together, with My Misty close by.  I told her if she needed to leave, to go with George, she must do so. I would look after the others.

Then the vet arrived. Examining Twinkie it was clear she needed to be put out of her pain. She appeared to have peritonitis with the infection out of control. We had no choice. I just sobbed. I was so tired, the last two weeks had been intense. We believe Twinkie possibly had bad ulcers due to continuous bute and suffered an intestinal rupture.

So within a week of her arrival I farewelled Twinkie…her work was done and she was off to be with George. We buried her under the trees and now my focus was to care for the grieving Misty, as well as Flip, Jackie, Call me Misty and to find a way to get ‘The Filly’ to us as well……



to be continued……………..



















She who dares to be different …Wilma

“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

I remember clearly an on line discussion regarding sheep. A farmer posting stated that sheep did not show intelligence, that proof of this was how hard it could be to ‘herd’ a flock of sheep into a yard.

To me this shows quite the opposite. It shows that the sheep are VERY aware that they are in danger, that the yard holds the fear of the unknown, of loss of freedom, and the risk of being subject to the will of another.

When Wilma saw her flock friends being herded into yards she made a decision, one that would save her life. She refused to go with the flock. Against all normal instincts that there is safety in numbers, Wilma decided to go it alone and take a risk.

From behind the trees she watched her flock family driven off, never to return…. and alone she roamed the bush block.

There was some luck on Wilma’s side. Her ‘owner’ did not want to capture her and make another trip to the abattoir; the property is to be sold. Permission was given…if we could catch her, we could have her.

When I first saw Wilma she darted off for cover, vulnerable away from her flock, terrified.

Her next encounter with humans was to see a yard put up in the bush, with some tasty lucerne hay put in. Whether or not she was tempted we do not know.

Yesterday the master plan was put into action. Our float was taken to the block,  and there, with  the generous assistance of Bill and his two experienced working dogs, Wilma was robbed of her hard won freedom.

It is always hard to witness the fear and terror as an animal tries to escape, and willing them to understand that their very life and safety is at stake.

After 20 minutes, Wilma was ’rounded up’ and secured in a horse float, where she spent the night.

Wilma 2Wilma

Today she made the journey to Honey’s Pledge and was released into a yard, with a small flock of sheep adjacent.

Wilma is heavy with fleece but given the cold weather and onset of winter, she will not be shorn until Spring. She will live in the yards for some time until we can gain her trust and reassure her that life here is safe.

A new flock and a new life.


A little one lost…..

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep…………

Meet Peggy.

Peggy was spotted by a kindly member of the community in an adjacent garden. Neighbours were canvassed but no one was missing a sheep.

Peggy had what appeared to be an injured leg and some injuries to her face.

Despite the garden being unfenced Peggy stayed put, and the reason…she had found a friendly face.

We found this so poignant…..lost and lonely…Peggy made ‘friends’ with a familiar figure. Apparently she even slept snuggled up to her friend, a fibreglass sheep.

Peggy Peggy 1

With no one coming forward to claim Peggy, we offered to provide her sanctuary and treatment for her injuries.

Using our portable yards, the HP team quietly assembled an open ended corral around the fibreglass friend. Then standing with our eyes lowered we waited, and in just a few minutes Peggy ran to join her friend in the yard and we secured her.

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Gently we carried her to the horse float. We felt sad at leaving her ‘friend’ and comfort behind but joyous that as soon as possible Peggy would re reunited with real sheep.

Peggy was transported directly to a vet who diagnosed injuries to her eye and mouth from a likely dog attack, as well as a badly infected front foot.

Peggy is having treatment for her eye and foot and is snug and dry in the horse float.

Once her hoof has healed she will be transferred to the stables and then to our sheep yards.

Where sheep may safely graze…..the continuing story

“Birds of the same feathers flock together, and when they flock together they fly so high.”
Cecil Thounaojam

On February 13 we collected seven sheep from the local pound. That day three more sheep arrived at the pound from the same property..sheep from the same flock who had strayed.

In  due course these three also made their way to Honey’s Pledge.

All have been shorn and are out of quarantine, settling in to their new life.

Recently I felt the need to check the local pound and saw…three more sheep. On making enquiries I was told these were from the same flock.

We were not surprised that these three have not been claimed and, after the necessary formalities, today we collected them from the pound for their journey to safety.

With the splendid set of horns on one, as we expected one of our new charges is a ram.

Our first priority is to have the three ‘crutched’. It is far too late in the year to remove their fleece but we have to remove the extensive soiled fleece from their rears.

Clearly these sheep have not been shorn for some time. We are hoping that this may have prevented the ram from enabling more little sheep to come into this world, but only time will tell.

After crutching, our lovely ram will be having some surgery to transform him to a ‘wether’. ‘Spring’ may require her horns to be trimmed as they appear very close to her eyes.

We are hoping that no sheep remain on the property they originally escaped from, or if so, that there are no more rams and so the flow of rescues will cease.

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Hay appeal

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We have two HP horses, Banjo and Jimmy,  being returned to us this week.

This is at a time when we are needing to feed out the horses here for the next 6 weeks until another pasture area becomes available.

Having two horses arrive back, plus with the additional sheep we have taken in recently, means we are having to provide a lot of fodder.

Can you help us over the next few weeks with the purchasing of lucerne squares (for the sheep) and round bales (for the horses and cattle)?

$10 will purchase a bale of lucerne and $60 a round bale

Your help at this time will be greatly appreciated.

Account details

Honeys Pledge Inc


BSB            033688

Account    503538

Please reference your donation with your name, and use the contact form to advise us of your donation so a receipt can be issued.

If you cannot access internet banking, donations can be sent to Honey’s Pledge Inc. PO Box 94, DAYLESFORD, VIC. 3460.

Honey’s Pledge Inc has Deductible Gift status.

Where sheep may safely graze

Sheep may safely graze
Woolly lambs are gamboling by the streams
Sheep may safely graze
All the lost children will be found in time
Sheep may safely graze, my boy
Close your eyes, your daddy is by your side

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

We are often asked where our rescue sheep come from. Apart from orphan lambs and surrenders, many sheep are from local council ”pounds’..

When an animal deemed as ‘livestock’ is found on the roads, is abandoned on a property, or on another land holders land, the local council is empowered to ‘impound’ the animal/s.

If no owner comes forward, after a statutory period, the animals are disposed of by the council

One means is by tender, where members of the public can place a sealed bid, to purchase the animals.

A few weeks ago a supporter alerted us to there being seven sheep in our local pound, soon to be sold through tender. The seven were listed as 5 ewes and 2 rams. As we are aware that such animals are often purchased to be on sold to the sale yards or abattoir for a profit, we were keen to put in a bid to secure a safe future.

Funds being low, we were thrilled to have support for a fund raiser to enable us to put in a bid for the sheep

We put in our tender and then had a tense wait to find out if we were successful. Thankfully we were and a few days ago these seven lucky sheep arrived. One small ewe had already been shorn as she had had horrendous fly strike on arrival at the pound, and we thank the shire for taking prompt action, as such severe flystrike would have led to her death.

On the day our seven were collected the shire contractor had collected yet another three of five more sheep from the same property. These are now in the pound and the same process will apply.

The seven sheep are of mixed breeds, some Suffolks, a couple of Dorset crosses and a magnificent Border Leicester. We shedded them in the stables to get the accustomed to us hand feeding them, and to ensure they stayed dry prior to shearing. Very glad we did as we had a torrential downpour.

Yesterday our fantastic shearer made a special trip over to shear the six sheep. At the same time all were drenched for parasites and also treated for nasal discharge.

They are getting used to us and the Border Leicester, ‘Beau’, is especially friendly, leading us to believe he was a pet at some stage.

After a time in quarantine they will join one of the main flocks.

And the other good news….at shearing we confirmed the group is made up of four wethers (male sheep who have been castrated) and three ewes, saving us the needs to castrate any rams, and hopefully none of the ewes are pregnant!

So now we will need to wait and hope we can save their friends.

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A not-so-special sheep

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.
– His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Snowy Autumn Leaf was not unique. He was no different to any other sheep.

What was different was that his life, though cut short, was a life of love, freedom, caring and affection.

That was not to be the case. Snowy was bred for profit, to be slaughtered, but he got lucky.

And we reaped the reward.

Follow the link and meet Snowy.