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Meet Matilda


Not ‘objects’ and rather fellow ‘subjects’ as St Francis proclaimed in his respect toward all life and especially animals. He abhorred cruelty and felt the planet was the dominion of no one and a home to every living creature, including grass, worms, trees, fish and of course mammals including birds and the horse.

It is 2018 and sadly, since Francis’s proclamation in the 1200s, centuries have passed and we’re still battling suffering inflicted on animals thought of as ‘objects. We at Calan Horse Sanctuary, will not let this one pass nor let our equine residents, especially Matilda whom we loved for just a short time and died this week, go unnoticed.

Her story could easily be from Francis’s time when neglect of animals was rampant. This gentle old mare was given sanctuary at Calan Horse Sanctuary in December 2017 after years of forced breeding. And we’re told by word of mouth, even at age 30 she was made to give ongoing riding lessons, not just rides, to approximately 36 different children whilst in foal.

We all know how much work a horse has to do to teach a human how to ride- let alone 36! In fact, the approach to her by a human when known this mare was going to retire was ‘Can’t you just let her squeeze out another one before you give her away?’

Any human would be horrified at this. Not because Matilda is an animal, and rather because it is not what any TRUE human being would think and say.

Unfortunately, what this lovely, gentle and trusting old mare suffered doesn’t stop there. She came to us with barely any teeth, constantly dropping her grain when trying to eat because she couldn’t grind the food like a healthy horse. Include constant pulling on the bit by dozens of people learning to ride -to the extent that she lost most except 13 (a normal horse would have about 40-42.)

After the horrific drought we’ve just pulled through, the tough guilford grass had grown and poor Matilda in trying to graze like a normal horse’s instinct is to do, couldn’t masticate the grass. We don’t know what happened although speculate that she might have had an compaction and heart attack in the middle of the night this past week, and died alone. No herd members were nearby to guide her or neigh out to Alan for help like Brodie did when old Merc was in trouble. As Alan is the only resident at the sanctuary, he couldn’t have known this was happening during the dark hours of night. Around her body were swirls of sand as if her legs were trying to get her upright- the same as old Merc.

We’ll always be here for these gorgeous equine souls, our friends on the journey through life. Our wish as always, is that Matilda has joined up in the big beyond and crossed over the rainbow bridge to run free forever more.

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