COMMUNITY: Laughton Women's Institute
Penny Waite welcomed the group and explained how this huge welfare facility for equines – horses, ponies, donkeys and mules, was set up and how it has grown over the past years.
Today it extends to just over 600 acres with 429 residents.
After the introductory talk it was time for a guided tour of the home paddocks to see some of the animals in Bransby’s care. These range from large horses such as Justice, a retired police horse, to a number of tiny Shetland and Shetland-cross ponies. Then there were the delightful donkeys in their grass turn-out paddocks, each with a large feeder of hay and a sand ‘pad’, essential to the donkeys’ welfare, and also the graceful Arabs with their beautiful ‘dished’ faces.
Penny told of the distressing conditions in which some of the residents were found before they were admitted to Bransby and showed ‘before’ photographs of animals which were too weak from malnutrition to stand, ones abandoned by their owners at roadsides and others barely recognisable as horses due to their matted, lice-ridden coats. These images clearly shocked many of the WI members and it was marvellous and comforting to see the same animals today, grazing contentedly and looking the picture of health.
Finally it was back to the ‘horse sense’ room where tea, coffee and delicious cakes and traybakes awaited the visitors.
Angie Colleran, on behalf of the institute, thanked Penny for making the evening so enjoyable, and also extended congratulations to the Bransby team for taking such devoted and successful care of their equine residents.