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Sanctuary staff battle the snow

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We wanted to say a huge thank you to all our grooms and yard managers for their amazing hard work and dedication when the Beast from the East met Storm Emma.

The roads on Friday and Saturday were virtually impassable but our dedicated staff did everything they could to make sure the 171 horses and ponies at our five farms were safe, warm and well fed.

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At Coombe Park one determined groom battled for more than two miles through the snow from her home in Totnes to tend to more than 30 horses and ponies – before walking back again!

Sanctuary Executive Director Syra Bowden said: “It was hard work and thanks to everyone for doing their best to help. In extreme weather conditions we understand for some people it would be dangerous to attempt to drive in. Which is why we owe a huge thank you to the staff members who lived on site or were close enough to make it.”

Staff even cancelled holiday to lend a badly needed hand.

Yard Manager Tracey Dixon had a particularly difficult time at badly-hit Upcott Park in North Devon, where all the water pipes froze.

She said: “The snow was over my wellies in places and the drift was up to my waist. The ice on the troughs was about three inches deep.

“Literally every tap and water pipe, trough and drinker were frozen solid. We had no water for almost a week. All of my team worked very hard.”

It’s that kind of teamwork that means – whatever the weather conditions – the horses and ponies at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary will always come first.

Well done to everyone who went the extra mile – on foot! – and here’s to the start of spring and a really great summer!