George’s journey

Young George is one of the lucky ones. His mum was rescued before he was born, and so George has only ever known a life of kindness, and it shows.

He is a confident, relaxed and happy little foal. At the time of writing (June 2014) he is just nine months old, still with his mum, Peaches and ‘aunty’ Cherry.

At Honey’s Pledge we believe there are so many animals reliant on humans for their care in need of homes, that there is no need for us to breed more animals. Our one exception is we do allow very occasional hatchings of poultry. The reason for this is to enable my young daughter to have some experience of the miracle and responsibilities of new life.

As lovely as it is to have baby animals (we love puppies, kittens, foals, calves, lambs, kids, and so on as much as anyone) there are thousands and thousands of animals put to death each month in want of a home.

Therefore an essential responsibility for us was to have young George gelded (castrated). This is also a practical requirement when caring for animals in a domestic setting. An ‘entire’ male animal needs to be segregated from females and can be challenging to handle once beyond the ‘cute’ stage.

So yesterday was the day. George was very calm although this was his first time in the loose box and first time in a headstall and lead rope. He had a injection to sedate him, and then had a general anaesthetic administered so he was blissfully asleep during the whole procedure.



Once under anaesthesia our vet started the procedure, with a  vet nurse on hand to ‘top up’ the anaesthetic as needed. The necessary surgery was quickly accomplished and the vet team then waited with us until George came out of his anaesthetic. Now for 24 hours ‘rest’ time with Mum in the loose box to enable blood clots to form and then back out to the paddock to ensure swelling is reduced. George will be monitored closely however he is already racing around back in the paddock, a happy and carefree little man.


Ruben keeps an eye on proceedings


Up and eating with Mum, Peaches

Our own spice girl


Introducing Cinnamon.

Cinnamon is like many sheep who just seem to turn up out of no where, and for who no one claims ownership.

Without someone to provide a home for her the next stop would be the saleyards or straight to the abattoir, a death sentence for being homeless.

Lucky for Cinnamon she had guardian angels who wanted to make sure she did not pay with her life.

Cinnamon is a mature lady, very keen to join a flock, and who would appear to have had trusted human carers at some stage. She looks like she has a few years of fleece on her so may have been in the forest for some time. She is very similar to two recent rescues, Millicent and Mojo, and may even have a connection with them, as her colouring is unusual and she came from the same area.

Milly, Malo and Milo were on hand to welcome her.

For the moment she is in our yards making friends with her neighbouring sheep. On arrival goats and ponies turned up and she was totally unperturbed.

Welcome Cinnamon, I have a feeling you are going to be a real character.


Ruth….running free

A wonderful next stage yesterday for two of Honey’s Pledge special residents.

Remember Ruth who came to us almost two years ago?

It has been a long haul with surgery to remover her eye and repair her leg ($8,000 of vet costs funded by us), but yesterday marked yet another new beginning for a special horse.

Until now we have kept Ruth is smaller paddocks with a companion to minimise the risk of any harm to her vulnerable leg. Stage by stage she has been moved to larger areas.

Yesterday was the big day. Leading Sophie, with Ruth and Troy following, I opened the gates to the ‘grasslands’…around 100 acres of grass and woodland where many of the horses spend the summer and autumn running as a herd.

Everyone loves the grasslands and Ruth and Sophie have not been permitted out there until now.

I took off Sophie’s headstall and the two mares trotted off for a look around, then did a U turn and galloped back past me, flying like the thoroughbreds they are.

It did not take them long to join the two herds with Daniel, Bear, Ginger, Cody, Manfred, Princess and Robbie, as well as Troy.

Here are Ruth, Sophie and Troy resting up after a big day.

2013 in review

Authur and Pearl

As we embark on 2014 we would like to thank everyone who provided support in 2013. It has been a busy year with wonderful highs, deep sadness, dramas and joys.

We would like to give a huge shout out to the thousands of people who do look out for animals, who take action, who speak out. Thank you.

Also a thank you to the many groups and organisations everywhere  big and small, incorporated and private, who are dedicated to animals.

Our words for 2014





Some memories of 2013

A new summer and a new start

Leave  a horse in a good place, and we will find them in a better place. Leave them in a bad place, and we will find them in a worse place

Carlos Tabernaberri

One of the delights of summer is the arrival of beautiful summer fruits. Two of our favourites are peaches and cherries.

This year we have an added delight……..Peaches and Cherry, together with Peaches’ baby………are starting on a new path in life.

We met Peaches and Cherry back in autumn. We were on a property assisting with another horse when we saw them in a three sided shed and yard. Their carers at the time could not get near them. They were being offered for sale, unhandled and wild. Cherry had just had her colt weaned from her.

We were concerned that, if sold, they could well go from home to home, unhandled and without a safe future.  As they are attractive mares they may well have been used as brood mares to produce more ponies into a society with more horses than we can care for already. Once too old or weak to breed they would be sent to the sales or the knackery.

A contact agreed to take them, provide training and rehome them under a contract. An offer was made to do a trade of some much needed hay (as this was a time when fodder was scarce)  in exchange for these ponies.

Loading them onto a float was a major event. They made it safely to their new home. Both refused to have any contact with humans and were very frightened. Before training began however it became apparent Peaches was in foal and there was a suspicion that Cherry was also in foal.

So the focus shifted to ensuring they were in a suitable paddock for foaling.

In September Peaches safely gave birth to a lovely little colt.

The carer was wanting to separate the foal at 4 months and sell separately to his Mum. Whilst we appreciate that there are many different ways of managing situations, this was not what we wanted.

Fortunately we were able to come to an arrangement, and Peaches, Cherry and bubs have come fully back into the care of Honey’s Pledge.

Today they made a float trip to a skilled friend who will undertake basic handling for the mares so we are able to place them into permanent homes, and bubs gets to stay with Mum.

We were very pleased at the condition they had gained over winter. They all looked fantastic. Bubs is growing fast and Cherry has gained at least 1 hh.

Better still it is clear that Cherry is not in foal.

Please follow us on Facebook as we enjoy a new start for these three lovelies.

PS early reports tonight are really positive!!!

We want to save Martin

Two weeks ago I spotted a small cow/bull/steer in the local council pound. He/she looked forlorn and lost.

It preyed on my mind and I called one of the rangers to enquire and was told it was a bull who would be up for sale by tender in the following weeks.

My heart sank…we cannot take a bull, even a small bull…and I could not imagine anyone else being able to.

On driving past again I decided to approach the bull to get a feel as to his temperament. As I stood at the fence he immediately came over, hesitated for a moment, then came up for a head scratch.  He is friendly, and affectionate and just looking for someone to be his friend.

He is so friendly that it is very likely he has been bottle raised, But, as often happens he has not been castrated and has probably got out , or been abandoned, as he became more challenging to care for as a bull.

I knew I could not walk away so I started to so some research. Yes he could be surgically castrated but I would need access to a cattle ‘crush’ to restrain him safely for the anaesthetic.

Then our first stroke of luck. I contacted another rescue organisation who cares for two cattle and asked if they could provide a home.  After some consideration they replied that, if castrated, they could.

Next I made enquiries re the logistics of transport and facilities for the surgery. There were options but all involving a lot of money. Then a friend offered her facilities to take in the bull, utilise her vet to do the procedure, and to transport him to his new home.

Next a local farmer agreed to give us the use of a stock trailor for transport.

The vet provided a reasonable quote.

Now we just need to raise the funds for his purchase and for the cost of castration. Out target is $500.

So please meet Martin. Without us it is very likely he will be sent for slaughter.

If you have a soft spot for this lovely man and would like to assist please contact us re contributing to save him.

UPDATE: October 10, 2013

To say I was devastated would be an understatement.

It has been nearly four weeks in the quest to save Martin, and after a wait of over two weeks to find out the result of the tender.

Today as I comforted Saffron and waited for the vet in the windswept paddock, I received the long awaited e mail. I truly believed we had been successful and it was only a matter of time before we would be told Martin was legally ‘ours’

Then I read that we had lost the tender and Martin was not ours…would not be ‘Martin’….he had been purchased to be sold on later…….I just crashed…

There was a small lifeline. The successful bidder had agreed to give out his telephone number and was okay for me to call him.

I left a message, contacted BAWCS , and a supporter who had offered to assist if further funds were needed.

My priority was Saffron and the next hours were spent with her and the terrible grief at losing her.

Late this afternoon I drove to town and went to see Martin. I promised him I would do everything I could. I kept trying the ‘phone number and finally managed to contact the successful bidder.

These are always delicate negotiations and you can imagine my delight when he readily agreed to on sell, having been advised by the ranger that I was wanting Martin as a ‘pet’. Then, to my relief, he only asked for the amount he had tendered, which was a wonderful gesture.

I went back to Martin, and hearing me he came over to the fence, gave me a big lick and enjoyed a scratch behind the ears, the same I had been doing with Saffron just hours before.

And the deep weight of despair lifted.

Thank you Martin, thank you to all of the wonderful team supporting Martin…..and thank you Saffron for working your magic from over the ‘bridge, .and so the new journey begins

Trudy, a road side rescue

Trudy’s was the first ‘rescue’ sheep for Honey’s Pledge. We already had provided a home for four coloured sheep, who came from a local property, where they were well loved and cared for.

I first saw Trudy in summer when driving from on a Monday morning from our property into Melbourne, where I was working for the week.  Driving along a quiet country road I saw a sheep, dragging her front leg, and with blood visible on her body. She was on the verge of the road hiding in the trees.  I stopped but was unable to get close and did not want to distress the sheep further.

I was out of range for my mobile and too early to contact the shire officers. I drove until in range and, locating the correct shire, advised that there was a sheep on the road, her location, and that she was injured. I also left my contact details so I could be contacted if the sheep was not claimed.

Now these were the days when I thought the system worked, that all such reports would be acted on immediately, and that the correct process would be followed re impounding and so on………so I assumed the sheep would be taken into care……..

At the end of the week I was driving back, and was horrified to see the sheep, still on the side of the road,

At the time I was pregnant, driving a small sedan, and very unsuitably dressed for sheep wrangling, in a dress and sandals. And I was of course out of mobile range.

So I drove back until in range and rang the shire. I got through to the ranger who advised he could bot attend until later, when it would be well after dark. While I was desperately thinking who I could call on for assistance, a tractor came along, driven by a local farmer. He was surprised to be flagged down by a pregnant ‘damsel in distress’…he obviously thought my car had broken down. He was bemused when I explained I needed help to catch an injured sheep about 1 k down the road.

Even though he obviously thought I was crazy, he willingly drove to his farm, collected his sheep dog and returned in his ute, With the dogs assistance the hapless sheep was quickly caught. The farmer looked at her, thin, and injured and told me it was okay, he would slit her throat and put her out of her misery. Quickly I explained that I wanted to take the sheep to care for her…he then pointed out that she was ‘only worth $6 at most……’

I quickly answered that I loved all animals and would love to care for her…he shrugged and carried her to my car. He advised against putting her in the back seat for my own safety, and placed the sheep in the boot of my car.  Knowing I would be the subject of a story he would tell others for weeks about the crazy pregnant lady in the pink dress, a thanked him, and started a very slow drive home. En route I was frantically calling my husband, to meet me at home, to life the sheep out.

Finally able to track him down, I begged him to get home immediately so we could get, Trudy, as I had named her , out of the boot and into a stable to commence her care.

At the time I did not have a supply of straw so I put down a horse rug, and we gently lifted Trudy out of my car and into the stable. Our first priority was water…and oh did she drink, and drink, and drink….

The following morning our vet attended to assess her injuries, Poor Trudy had a badly fracture front leg. This was set in plaster. She also had a huge flank wound, the size of a dinner plate, that wen done to the muscle. The vet cleaned and dressed this and advised us to continue dressings.

So Trudy stayed in the stable, which we filled with straw, and we nursed her. Luckily I was on leave, as Trudy could not stand once she had laid down, and so I would regularly stand her up, as well as finding her fresh grass, and doing her dressings. On day 4 we found why she was unable to stand herself up, a huge abscess, the size of a grapefruit,  in her shoulder joint. So our nursing now included flushing it out.

Trudy would proudly ride in the back of the 4WD on her follow up visits to the vet. Her plaster cast was replaced with a splint. The would on her flank decreased down to the size of a 50 cent piece.

Finally the vet gave permission for Trudy to leave her stable. We removed her sprint, built a yard, and let her out. It was a most magic moment, as Trudy took off and bounced for over 10 minutes round and around…boing boing boing!

Weeks later we were able to release her into the paddock where she chased our existing four sheep until they accepted her as part of the flock.

Trudy is the matriarch of our ‘flotsam and jetsam’ flock of rescue sheep who roam the olive grove. She has a ‘peg leg’ and the shearer always comments on the huge scar on her flank,

Whenever I do the drive to Melbourne I pass what I think of as ‘Trudy’s spot’ and thank goodness she survived.  About 3k along is what I think of as ‘Jeremy’s spot……another story!

The secret hidden in the Rose…..the story of Rosie

A 12th century Persian poet wrote,

“Mystery glows in the rose bed, the secret is hidden in the rose.

To see the wonderful transformation of Rosie click on the link below…..

The transformation of Rosie

and the full story………………

In April 2011 we were preparing for the first visit to Australia of Virginie Bernhard, a Swiss ‘freedom’ horse trainer, . Virginie was to be based at our property and this was a fantastic opportunity for her to work with our rescue horses so we decided to rescue two more in time for her visit.

A great (and courageous) friend went to a well-known knackery on a mission to bring out two horses, one for her rescue organisation,  and one for us, in time to enable Virginie to work with us and share her invaluable knowledge. The pony who came to us was Sally. See her story  The other was Chico who joined Sally in the paddock.

My friend specialises in standard bred rescue and rehabilitation. When at the knackery yards she noticed a number of standardbreds in the yards, two with leg injuries.

The following week, when she returned to the knackery, these two standardbreds were still there. We learned they had been in the yards, witnessing all of the horrors of the knackery, for at least two weeks. Two weeks of watching other horses being forced into the shute, of shooting and dismembering, the blood, the fear, the stench. Waiting their turn.

Rosie abattoir

Rosie at the knackery with Chico and other

I asked my friend to purchase one of the standardbreds. I wish we could have taken more, all, every single terrified animal there.  She chose the youngest, and on the float drive home rang me to tell me she was a ‘little filly’.’

It was nearing dusk as the float pulled in, and we unloaded the filly. She was thin and underdeveloped, absolutely covered in bites and kick marks, with rain scald, and with an old, obviously untreated wound, to her hind leg. On checking her brand we found she was only just 2 years old, and did not have a name. She had obviously been sent to the sales or direct to the knackery as she was unsuited to racing.

My young daughter was with us, and immediately she asked that the young filly be named ‘Rosie’.

The first touching moment was seeing Chico, who had been at the knackery with Rosie until the previous week, recognise her and come to the fence with a whinny of welcome. I hope he was telling Rosie not to be scared any more.


Chico, greeting Rosie on arrival at Honey’s Pledge

The second was two days later, when finally allowing herself to relax after the horror of the past weeks, we saw Rosie stretched out, in the fresh grass and sunshine, in a deep deep sleep.

Virginie did some initial work with Rosie but mainly we allowed her wounds to heal and for her to gain confidence in the paddock. Also, just weeks after the arrival of Rosie and Sally, we had five rescue horses and ponies arrive from a deceased estate, three of them needing very high levels of care.

One of these, the lovely mare, Jacqui, immediately ‘mothered’ Rosie, allowing her to share her feed bucket and keeping close by.

We moved Rosie up to the house paddock to allow more time for handling her, as she did not like anyone picking up her feet, especially her previously injured hind leg. One day I noticed a fracas near a large shed between Rosie and a pony over some hay. Like many horses who have experienced food deprivation, Rosie would get defensive about food.

Soon after I saw Rosie limping and going to check, found a horrific wound on the coronet band of her hind hoof, with arterial bleeding. Unable to get our usual vets,  I contacted a friend who recommended another practice close by. Luckily they were able to attend and were experienced with young unhandled horses.


Injury to Rosie’s coronet

I could not work out how the wound had happened until days later I saw two holes in the shed wall. These were about 2 meters off ground level and showed, on kicking out, Rosie had put BOTH hooves through a solid corrugated iron wall. I felt sickened at what would have happened if she had not been able to release her hooves and how lucky we were that thr was not far more terrible wounds.

Rosie shed impact 2

Holes in the corrugated iron shelter.

Fortunately there was no damage to Rosie’s tendons but she needed to be stabled to keep the dressings dry, and to have regular dressing changes. This presented a challenge. We received invaluable assistance from a local trainer and from experienced friends assisting with Rosie.

Rosie LOVED her stable and even when her leg had healed was very reluctant to give up the deep straw and shelter.

We were thrilled when a dear friend was willing to adopt both Jacqui and Rosie.. Our friend was studying the use of herbs to promote health and healing in horses, so Rosie was the beneficiary of this knowledge, as well as living in a loving home.

Rosie has developed and is now a stunningly healthy and happy horse. Affectionate and relaxed.

This rescue was only possible due to a number of people working together to their strengths. My friend who had the courage to go to the abattoir, Virginie and Pol who gave handling assistance. the vets who treated Rosie, my wonderful friend who gave Rosie a forever home and continued her rehabilitation.

The secret hidden Rose is now fully revealed in all her glory.


A safe place for Saffron…an appeal for your help


Hi all.

Our new rescue, Saffron, has made it necessary to put out an urgent appeal. Read the story of Saffron here.

Saffron is totally blind and we need to create a new paddock for her as soon as possible. At present she is confined to a loose box and is fretting and finds it difficult to eat from a feed bowl as she cannot locate it. A dedicated paddock will enable her to graze, to have a companion, and to gain confidence.

We have an ideal paddock next to the house, but it has a very deep dam, and we need to fence this off.  This will create a safe paddock with shade trees and ready access to the yards and stables. There is an added advantage that this will also create a spring paddock for the ponies prone to laminitis.

A fencing contractor can do the fence this week. But, we cannot start the work until I have raised the funds.

We are asking for supporters and anyone you can recruit, to contribute $20 to pay for two metres of fencing. Of course if you can assist with more we will not say no!


The fencing together with gates is estimated at $1500. Therefore we need 79 contributions of $20.

We will update via our Facebook page of how we are going.  As Sunday 18th August we are at 65% of target. ..thank you.


1. By Paypal.

Until we incorporate the Paypal account is in my name, Linda Mira-Bateman

To pay go to:

Log in

Click on the tab ‘Buy’

Click on ‘Make a payment’.

Select ‘Pay for goods or services’

Use e mail address to make the payment’

Please if you have any problems let me know…I have not used Paypal before to receive payments!

2. By direct Internet transfer

Again, until we incorporate we do not have a dedicated account for Honey’s Pledge.

Donations can be made into an account. Please contact me for details.

3. PLEASE e mail me on so I can trace your donation and issue a receipt.


As we are still in the process of incorporating we cannot offer Deductable Gift Status. We will however provide a receipt. Please make sure you e mail us so we can do so.

Saffron is a very special rescue with special needs. This is why we are reaching out for support.

Many thanks

Linda and the Honey Pledge team (and Saffron of course)