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Jenny was taken from North Devon Equine Rescue in October 2019. She had been left to suffer there without enough food and water to stay healthy when the organisation got into difficultly and couldn’t cope with the horses they had rescued.

We worked alongside the RSPCA, the Blue Cross, Horse World and World Horse Welfare to take 26 horses from the site – with six coming into our Sanctuary. A prosecution led by the RSPCA resulted in the owner admitting three offences of causing unnecessary suffering to horses and ponies in her care.

When Jenny first arrived at the Sanctuary she was terrified. This caused her to become aggressive in situations that frightened her. It was difficult to get close to her to treat her medical conditions. She was suffering with lice and sore patches of skin on her face and around her ears.

Since then, Jenny has been introduced to mares Ingra and Mel. These mares have all been through trauma in the past and therefore need the same gentle handling.

Leah Brock, Deputy Head Groom at our Honeysuckle Yard said: “Jenny is gradually learning to be caught and led. This will allow us to get closer to her and make any medical care that she needs easier to administer. We are also working on grooming and touching her, as we are still unable to touch most of her body and have not started any work on her legs yet. The less scared she becomes, the more we are starting to see a friendly personality.”

It is essential to understand and treat Jenny’s aggressive behaviour. Aggression is often a reaction to being frightened and it can be the only way in which the horse or pony can express itself. It can also be food based. It has become evident that both of these issues affect Jenny. The best way forward is to use a very calm, consistent and gentle approach. Once the horse becomes less fearful, the aggression often stops and this is what we are seeing with Jenny. She must be left on her own to eat her food without disruption. This is working well and her behavioural issues are starting to improve – she even enjoys the occasional scratch behind the ears now.

Jenny is progressing well with training and handling and we hope that this will continue. It is uncertain as to whether she will ever be rehomed, but she will have a secure future and sanctuary for life.