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

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……………..



















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.

Tex, a lucky rescue

He is happiest be he king or peasant who finds peace in his home

Johann Wolfgang van Goethe


The easiest task in rescue is to say yes to every animal you see in need.

The hardest, and most heartbreaking, time in rescue is when you have to say no.

‘No, we cannot take in the sheep from the pound.’

‘No we cannot take in this horse to stop it from being slaughtered,.’

‘No I cannot take the cat you no longer want…..’

Animal rescue groups get calls and e mails every day asking them to take in stray and unwanted animals. Often the timeframes are urgent…‘The horse must be off the property this week….’, ‘The dog will be shot unless a home is found by tomorrow….’ 

Less often workable timelines are there, a relief , giving the animal a chance.

And when a rescuer has to say no, most will refer the caller, or will themselves,  try another group, in the hope a home can be found.

And so the call is put out, ‘Can you take in…….?’, ‘Do you know of anyone who could take in……’   Telephone calls, e mails, social media postings.

So every rescued animal is lucky. Lucky someone cared enough to see them in trouble, to contact a rescue group, and lucky that for them, the rescue group could say YES.

Tex was bred to trot fast, fast enough to win money for his owner and trainer. Tex was not fast, and so Tex was sent to the saleyards.

Tex was then bought buy a ‘meat buyer’, destination to be slaughtered, at just 4 years of age. He has not even got his full set of adult teeth yet.

Then Tex got lucky. Due to his good nature he was sold to a person who wanted a horse. So it looked like Tex’s worries are over……except not quite.

Experienced horse carers will tell you. that the cheapest part of owning a horse is buying a horse. Many people decide to rescue a horse, without factoring in the actual cost of caring for a healthy horse, let alone the costs to cover illness or accidents. or times of drought and increased fodder costs.

So Tex found himself in a paddock with a well meaning, but totally inexperienced carer. He developed a hoof abscess (a common hoof ailment). The cost of treating this set the carer ‘over the edge’ financially and it was very apparent that their knowledge of handling was minimal and in fact likely to put the horse, and them, at risk.

Then Tex got lucky again. His owner put in a call to an animal sanctuary. They could not assist but referred the caller onto Honey’s Pledge.

Young standard bred horses, untrained to saddle are sent to slaughter in their thousands every year, in line with the slaughter of thoroughbreds from the flat racing industry.

To get a call asking us to find a home for yet another of these poor animals is a blow, as inevitably we have to say no, we are already dealing with a number of horses needing homes.

But Tex was really lucky. Just weeks before, a supporter of Honey’s Pledge, had needed to euthanise their beloved aged horse , and they had contacted us regarding finding a companion for their rescue thoroughbred.

We put through a call to Jan and she agreed to give Tex a home for life. This is a ‘rolled gold’ forever home.

We contacted a  member of our committee, who was able to collect Tex the next day, and take him to their property to ensure hoof issues were resolved and to assess his overall well being,

So within hours I was able to call back to advise Tex would be safe for life. I also strongly recommended that the person not buy another horse and emphasised that the right homes are hard to find.

We were advised Tex travelled like a ‘pro’ and was soon settled in his short term home. Some of his behaviour was unusual until we were alerted to some of the handling issues from his previous home. These will settle with time and calm experienced handling.

Once we were happy that Tex had no ongoing hoof issues a transporter was contacted and Tex headed off in comfort for the next stage of his safe life journey.

Check him out in his new home with fellow rescue Al….we think he has not stopped eating that wonderful grass!!!

Tex was not undernourished or injured…but he was at risk …yet another standard bred superfluous to the industry in need of a home, where his value is as a living being in need of care and no more is expected of him.

Good luck Tex…..enjoy you new life…we were happy to play our part in getting you there




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