I recently had the pleasure of visiting Hope Pastures Sanctuary
Hope Pastures, situated in Leeds – West Yorkshire, rescue, rehabilitate and re-home abused and mistreated equines, to include horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.
My first impression was how clean and well kept the facilities are. There’s no admission fee, plenty of parking and a place to enjoy refreshments. There’s also a small shop where you can buy locally made gifts, cards, stationery and other bits and pieces.
You’ll find an attractive court yard with a stable area where each partition has fresh, clean straw and blankets for its four legged guests. Plenty of hands on volunteers that can be identified by their dark green tee-shirts.
I was also impressed to discover Hope Pastures encourage open days for team building exercises. I love this idea. During my visit, Barclays Bank had several employees helping to cultivate local fields used by the rescued equines.
Most of the animals who arrive at Hope Pastures have been beaten, starved or simply neglected. It would be fair to say, it’s heart breaking to imagine how anyone can be so wicked to these docile creatures that thrive with sense of purpose to mankind.
Hope Pastures Sanctuary for equines aim to educate people in animal welfare. Encouraging community to meet and spend time with the equines. They welcome school and group visits too and are also prepared to take ponies out on therapeutic visits.
How about planning your children’s birthday party as a pony day! I can’t think of anything lovelier. The young need to be outdoors thriving with nature. This is surely more preferential than sticking them round tables in some burger bar making them high on additives with a load of junk food.
Imagine the scene … group picnic, ponies, tying ribbons in their manes. The young being at one with the great outdoors. Whilst at the same time supporting a wonderful cause in the community.
I was shown around the extensive and well kept grounds by Phil – a trustee, who is passionate about the work Hope Pastures offer to neglected and abused animals. He told me new homes are carefully vetted before any of the equines are able to leave. I was particularly relieved to here that the equines always remain the property of Hope Pastures. That if things don’t work out for whatever reason, the sanctuary immediately take them back. Hope Pastures work closely with those providing new shelter to ascertain the equines have the quality of ‘new life’ they deserve.
It’s hard to accept that since we no longer rely on horses and ponies to assist us in transportation, they’ve almost been cast to one side. Before the motor car horses were essential to share communication and expand outside of our immediate environment. To broaden, learn and make progress. During these times they were ‘mostly’ valued. Just the way we value the upkeep of a car, bus or working vehicle. Equines were essential working tools – an essential part of our goals. Horses are also our forgotten war heroes. Now, sadly due to surplus of requirement, animal cruelty is at an all time high.
Ponies, horses and donkeys are not toys. People need to understand that having land is not enough to take on responsibility of equines. They thrive best in a group, they’re heard creatures and they can become very lonely if left, un-stimulated to just exist. Also ponies and donkeys are not starter pets. Children can be very cruel to animals and it is work of parents and carers to educate the young in how to treat our animal kingdom.
Many equines do not have the good fate of rescue such as Hope Pastures and are often sent to market where they can end up ‘for instance’ in France facing imminent slaughter and be nothing more than dog food. A harsh contrast to the life they should have.
It really is quite upsetting to see the animals at their best then visualise how things were at their worst. Rescue is so imperative. Volunteers giving their free time for the salvation of equines that would otherwise ‘in many cases’ be dead or suffering extreme emotional and physical abuse.
Hope Pastures are funded entirely by public donations. They rely on us ‘the public’ for their work to continue. I was ‘not’ surprised to learn the sanctuary currently need £8,500 per month to run the sanctuary. The upkeep does not come cheap. Food, vet and medical costs, bedding, shelter and overheads.
There are various ways we can help. Here’s a few:
Become a volunteer in the visitor centre, on the yard or at events, fetes and fairs.
Be a fundraiser and set up your own event for Hope Pastures.
Donate quality goods such as raffle prizes, blankets, good quality items for fetes and fairs.
Sell for them on Ebay or donate a percentage of your sales to Hope Pastures.
Buy from Hope Pastures Amazon Wishlist where the goods are delivered straight to the sanctuary.
Visit Hope Pastures and make a donation.
Adopt a donkey or pony for just £15 per year (a great gift idea.)
Finally … spread the word. Tell your friends and family all about Hope Pastures and the wonderful things they do for horses, donkeys, mules and ponies. They want to be our friends, they want to love us and need our support, more than ever!
For more information please visit the Hope Pasture website or phone 0113 261 4344.
Hope Pastures – Weetwood Lane – Leeds – LS16 5PH
You can find all of this and more by visiting the Hope Pastures website right now.
Tiffany Belle Harper