He had been called by the local ISPCA inspector to a derelict farm near Bishopstown, where there was a foal which was giving cause for concern. The owners had agreed to relinquish it to the ISPCA, but they needed someone to collect it ASAP and take it to the shelter at Mallow, The Victor Dowling Equine Rescue Centre, a forty five minute drive away. Was I doing anything?
Unfortunately, Dave knows I'm a soft touch.
My one concern was that we have a very unusual French make of horsebox, with a logo on the side giving details of George's photography website and his phone number. I was afraid the owners of the foal might cause trouble and we would be an easy target to track down. The ISPCA inspector gave assurances that the owners weren't too concerned and all would be well.
I thought of my plan to hack out Tansy's horse at 2pm and my 4pm appointment to pick out wardrobe doors and handles.... No Dave, I said, I'm not doing anything!
So, having dropped Flurry home, I continued to Bishopstown, expecting to be met with a very thin black and white cob type - I even threw an extra large headcoller into the trailer in case it was needed - those cobby types tend to have very big heads!
This is what met me!
The poor little guy was so thin you could see every vertebra in his back bone. Dave reckoned he was less than six months old. Lisa, the ISPCA inspector, had named him Ernie. She had been keeping an eye on him for a couple of weeks - he had "appeared" in the grounds of the derelict farm about four weeks previously. There were three other horses there - all cob types, and all in good condition - but Ernie was not able to compete for the feed they were being given, and there was no vegetation left so he was slowly fading away. Having seen a big deterioration in him since her last visit, Lisa decided it was time to act. The owners materialised while she was waiting for Dave to turn up, and although they seemed happy to turn him over, experience has taught her that she had to get little Ernie out straight away. The ISPCA jeep was already being used on another call, so Dave thought of me!
I needn't have worried about Ernie being difficult to load - although he was very subdued, he walked willingly up the ramp into the trailer, and started nibbling on the haylage Flurry had spilled on the floor. He was so small, his poll didn't even come up as far as the breast bar at its lowest setting!
I drove to Mallow, going nice and easy on turns and stops, but either he was so little I couldn't feel him moving or he stood quietly for the whole trip. He'd eaten nearly all the haylage, anyway!
It was nice to see him settled into his new home, and good to know he'll be safe and protected for life.
Lisa the ISPCA inspector was an old acquaintance - she was the veterinary nurse in the practise where Scamp was a regular for many years! She remembered Scamp, and was delighted to hear she had made it to such a great age. We had a good "catch up" session and I was given a tour of the shelter - they have some really nice horses and ponies there - some of them are on the ISPCA rehoming page
Then I headed back home and made it to the wardrobe shop only an hour late but smelling somewhat horsey!