Honeysuckle is our head office and rehabilitation centre, which we bought in 2005 after years of renting properties.
A real heartfelt thank you goes to all the supporters who made this purchase possible – it has enabled us to help far more equines than we otherwise could have.
All our horses are brought here, following quarantine at our adjacent Beech Trees Veterinary and Welfare Centre, and stay here to rehabilitate and train. If they are young and green they can then be moved to Upcott Park to live out and grow up.
But if old enough and suitable they are trained here to become either a riding horse or a companion pony.
It is also where our Head Office is based and where are finance department, Human Resourses,
Although the site is closed to the public, many horses and ponies move to our Visitor Centre at Coombe Park after checks to further their training or to be rehomed.
This beautiful farm is our retirement stables for horses and ponies who cannot be rehomed.
A small team of dedicated staff look after the horses’ every need and make sure they live out the rest of their days in as relaxed and comfortable an environment as possible.
Every day they make sure our older mares and geldings have everything they need from specialist medication to special boots to help the footsore make it to their fields every day.
The site even has a stable with its very own solarium for the cold and shivering to warm up on a Winters’ day.
And every few weeks one of the farm’s 23 residents has a birthday – and when you get to their age there has to be cake! The grooms make one for every resident, adding in their favourite treats, from sticky weed to polos, and the latest was the lovely Willow celebrating being 24 years young.
Upcott Park Cookbury near Holsworthy is our newest site which we bought in October 2014. The former dairy farm is by far our largest site with approximately 130 acres, which allows us to home up to 90 horses in larger herds.
We decided to buy Upcott to enable us to give our ponies and horses a more natural way of life. Many of our youngsters are sent there following quarantine at Beech Trees to grow up and settle in, with 24 hour turnout and gentle, basic training.
Upcott Park manager Tracey Dixon said: “Some of the ponies and horses we rescue are foals or very young. We get them used to being handled and seen by vets and farriers, but we also know they need to be socialised with other horses and, in some cases, just left to get strong, in a relaxed and happy environment, until they’re old enough to begin their real training.”
The farm sits at the top of a valley with amazing panoramic views over North Devon. Over the last three years we have been busy repairing and replacing fencing, fixing barns and converting them into stables and improving the site’s drainage.
And over the next few years we hope to install a sand school for training and more stables so we can make sure Upcott Park is full to capacity with rescued horses and ponies.
We’re delighted to announce the first operations have been carried out at our new Beech Trees Veterinary and Welfare Centre – now up and running thanks to your donations.
We’re so proud of the £850,000 facility, which will transform the way we care for all our horses, ponies and foals.
So far several castrations and arthroscopies – using a camera to examine, re-shape and remove excess bone from arthritic joints – have been carried out, with the Sanctuary’s resident vet Richard Frost acting as anaesthetist.
He said: “This centre is helping us deal with a much wider variety of medical issues and it has removed much of the need to travel to specialist treatment centres, with many specialists now coming to us to treat the animals.”
The centre has also proved invaluable in tackling a recent Strangles outbreak with 10 bespoke quarantine stables available to prevent the spread of the highly infectious respiratory disease.
Each stable has its own equipment, including wheelbarrows, pitchforks, buckets and hay nets to prevent cross-contamination and the boxes have reinforced, sealed glass windows to allow the horses to see their neighbours.
Our new purpose-built rescue facility in Yelverton will allow us to rescue horses and ponies struggling on the region’s harsh moorland.
The new facility, opened in November 2019, has land, stabling and offices, right on the edge of Dartmoor, allowing our Yelverton team to specialise in the care and rehabilitation of semi-feral ponies.
It has revolutionised the way we care for unhandled ponies, providing them with a safe environment to express natural herd behaviour – including special crew barns so they can lie down together.
Work on the moorland rescue facility began under charity South West Equine Protection, which merged with the Sanctuary last year.
Phase one of the new facility includes a shower and kitchen area for staff to stay overnight to look after a sick pony or young foal.
Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Support Adoption for Pets and the Jean Sainsbury Animal Welfare Trust, we have now been able to complete most of the main building work.