One of the things that stands out to me as particularly remarkable about Calan is how it is designed and how the horses are trained into a routine. Feeding the 15 horses is a relatively easy task given that they all have their own dedicated stall where they are fed every morning. Each horse knows where its stall is and will wait by its gate for Alan to come, let it in, and give its hard meal in the feeder. This saves so much time in having to halter each horse to lead them to their stall from the field.
The stalls are clean and open with each stall having it’s own broom, rake, scoop for picking up poop, and a halter and lead rope if needed. The gates have a simple yet very effective locking mechanism that can easily be operated with one hand. It is these seemingly small details that make a big difference in caring for so many horses, often, by just one person.
Once the horses have finished their breakfast they are let out of their stalls to head back out to the paddock for grazing. The feed buckets head back to the feed room where they are prepped for the next day. The feed room uses old fridges and freezers to neatly seperate the different types of feed, keep the mice and rats out as well to make it easy to fill the buckets. Bagged feed is kept locked away in an adjacent room for easy access.
The detail and the thought that has gone into the building of Calan really puts the horse first and makes it easy on the human carers to give them as relaxing a life as possible.
During my last visit, the 29/30th September, we trimmed Irish, Phoenix, Waylon, Felix, Vinnie, Digger, and the two miniatures, Gypsy and Tonto. We’ve split the trimming of the herd into two groups so that half the herd is being trimmed each time I visit. Under Alan’s watchful and knowledgable eye I am honing my trimming abilities to ensure the health of the horse is optimised.
Alan is always emphasising how important it is to “listen” to the horse during the trimming process and to be respectful of the time each horse allows for you to do the job. At the end of the day you’re dealing with quite a large and strong animal that, if not comfortable and relaxed, can make the trimming process challenging. It is important to not only trim effectively but to also be efficient with the tools and to put the interests of each horse first.
The paddocks have started to dry up a bit compared to last few months and the horses have lost most of their winter coats. The herd is in good health with no major issues to report. Omar is still having psyllium husk and paraffin oil added to his breakfast daily to help with passing the sand in his stomach and appears to be doing well.
Thank you to everyone that has been donating. Your support is appreciated it goes a long wait to ensuring that these neglected, and sometimes abused, horses are able to live out the rest of their days in comfort with all the care these incredible animals deserve.
James McDonald, on behalf of Alan Gent and Calan Horse Sanctuary.