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Guest Blog- Working Horse Trust

After a long time following the Fugly Blog, I finally have a reason to write for it.  And it’s a reason that is making me incredibly sad.
For the past couple of months, my husband and I have been volunteering at the Working Horse Trust (http://www.theworkinghorsetrust.org https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Working-Horse-Trust/113383245371810).  Based in East Sussex, England, the Trust’s mission is to help preserve and promote the few remaining breeds of heavy horses.  They particularly concentrate on Ardennes horses and Suffolk Punches (severely endangered).  They’re a small charity, with only about fifteen to two dozen horses at a time, most of which were bred and born on the Trust’s land, Forgewood Farm.  Any horses that they sell are kept track of, and they’re known for breeding quality animals.  One of the Suffolks bred there, Forgewood’s Benjamin (http://www.horsedeals.com.au/index.php?p=view-horse&horse=291120-Suffolk-Punch-Stallion-Forgewood-Benjamin), was imported to Australia to help improve the bloodlines there.  The Trust promotes the heavy draft breeds as part of England’s heritage, and for modern uses such as organic farming and ecological logging.
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They keep one stallion, a Swedish Ardennes stud named Brunte, and all colts produced there are gelded unless they are of exceptional quality; they know one stud is enough for a small farm.  All of the horses are trained to both harness and saddle, with all of them taking turns at construction jobs and/or demonstrations.  They also do competitions, from halter to draught to cart racing to log pulls, and have won many ribbons.  Their horses have even represented Britain at France’s Route de Poisson draught race (http://www.nagmagmedia.com/the_fish_run.html).  Brunte in particular is a working stallion, and is so well-mannered and gentle that even an amateur has no difficulty handling him.  On open days, members of the public can come in and try their hand at driving, the horses so calm and obedient that even a layperson has no trouble at the reins.
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They also take amazing care of their horses.  Last year three of their horses had major medical problems, ranging from hoof tumours to a broken pelvis, and they nearly broke the bank getting the best medical care possible for them.  Jo Ambrose, the woman who runs the Trust, has said that as long as the horses are enjoying life, they will do everything possible to give them a chance.  And it works; all three horses have made good recoveries, and their oldest mare, Unity, is still in excellent health at age 28.  The horses live on lush pasture all through the spring and summer, and then live in comfortable indoor pens for the winter.
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What I’m trying to say is that this place is a wonderful charity, a place dedicated to the heavy draft breeds, one that produces quality horses who are also well-trained, well-managed, and well-loved.  It’s run entirely by volunteers, and those volunteers are determined to educate visitors about the care of the horses, as well as to prove that there is still a place in the world for the heavy horse.  Seeing and working with these beautiful, gentle animals every week is a
privilege.
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Now here comes the sad part.  The Working Horse Trust was established a little over two decades ago when they rented a large acreage in Eridge Park, East Sussex.  The land was little but wasteland when they came there, with no buildings, no running water, no electricity, no grazing, no fencing, nothing.  The Trust built everything from scratch, from sowing hay to laying the plumbing to building a beautiful barn and series of pastures.  All built by the volunteers and the horses, this has increased the value of the land astronomically. And now, after over twenty years of tenancy, the Working Horse Trust is losing its home.
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Eridge Park is owned by the Marquess of Abergavenny and his company, the Nevill Estate Company.  For several years now, the Marquess and his land managers have been pressuring the Trust to increase their revenues, opening the farm to the public as a tourist attraction, holding classes, arranging tours…all of which the Trust is willing to do, but they don’t have the budget to set up the necessary amenities, such as a cafe, a restroom, etc.  And the Marquess and Company, of course, are offering to help with none of these costs.  What they are willing to do, however, is take ten percent of the Trust’s income on top of the rent they already pay.  The Trust has refused to go along with this, and now are faced with losing their home.
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It’s breaking my heart to see this, and if the Trust shuts down, it will be a tragedy.  They may have found a new place to live, but nothing is set in stone.  They need 30-50 acres of grazing land, preferably fenced in, and hopefully with buildings, though the last is optional.  And if they do find a new place and decide to keep fighting, they’ll need at least 50, 000 British pounds to finance the move.
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It’s a massive undertaking, and thought of this wonderful place being forced to close, especially after all the hard work they’ve put into it, is horrific.  I’m hoping that maybe my fellow horse-lovers here at the Fugly Blog might be able to help out, whether with donations, suggestions of a new place to go, or maybe by volunteering (I’m sure there are Brits on here!).  The giant horses need a hand, and I hope you lovely people might be able to extend one.
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Thanks to everyone for listening, and thanks to Fugly for the chance to talk about this!
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Even when they make you money you don’t feed them

Over in the UK I thought they had tougher animal cruelty laws but I guess I was wrong.  Because if you starve your horses to a 0 on the Henneke scale, that is not a typo the vet classified two of them as ZEROS, and let them start to self mutilate because of the horrific lice infestation you will get one day in jail.  That is it, just one day to think about what you have done.  This happened recently to Adrian Alexander whose website claims he has provided horses to movies such as Braveheart and Sense and Sensibility.  He also runs a carriage business that can take you all around London.   I wonder if he showed up to a job with a horse looking like this:

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One horse was so bad they had to put him down. This man MAKES MONEY on the horses.  What happened to it?  If he was providing horses to multiple movies that means he did a good job at one time and probably made some decent money doing it.  Yet he couldn’t feed the ones bringing in the cash.  He was big enough at one time to be interviewed for a NY Daily News article.   That was just in May of this year he was quoted “Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, I take them everywhere and nobody’s ever told me I’m banned,” said Adrian Alexander.

If his business was doing well why was he hiding these four horses.  To starve them and let them suffer with lice.

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Looking at these poor horses make me sick and yet he only gets one day in jail.  The veterinarian who examined them said that there was so much feces in the area she had to remove them to even do initial examinations.  There most basic needs were not being met.

Sure is a different picture from this horse

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Or this one from Sense and Sensibility

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Actually looking closely the two greys look very similar, could they be the same horse?

I cropped the two faces and look at the face shape, the nostrils it sure looks like a very similar horse.  What an asshole to use a horse in a movie where he clearly made money and then treated him like this.

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When this case came up he was already in jail for a marijuana charge.  I just hope the court has restricted his animal ownership in the future as clearly he has no right to own animals or have an animal related business.

Sherri Brunzell – First court appearance

Sherri Brunzell was in court this morning for her first motions hearing.  Brunzell was trying to challenge the lawful search and seizure of the horses and llamas.  The judge deemed both legal and that at this time she will not be getting any animals back.  She will have to continue to pay the care bond at $5400 per month for the remaining animals in law enforcement’s care.

The Justice for Dual Peppy Facebook page posted this about the hearing today:

“Randy Parker DVM gave testimony. He stated that femur bones of the 14 deceased were tested. The average age of the dead horses was 5-10 years old. The youngest was 3. Only 3 horses were 15 or older. No firm cause of death yet to our knowledge. The judge agreed there was probable cause and the seizure stood. The bond deposit had been paid, and other vet costs were ordered to be paid. Judge Sletta ordered she pay $5,205. for vet care; float, vaccination, farrier, worming. $12.00 per horse per day or $3600 per month. The Llamas $600 for vet care, and $15 per llama per day or $1800 per month till advisement in December. Next payment due 10/23.”

This is a great step in securing a conviction and getting justice for these animals.  We will keep you updated as we get more information.

Interesting update on Sherri Brunzell

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I just heard that Sherri is hiring a veterinarian to come evaluate her llamas to potentially get them back.  Thankfully this veterinarian one is very well versed in the camelids and two doesn’t feel Sherri should ever have them again.

Does this mean she is going to try to get the horses back?  Right now she has a hearing on December 31st but the first care bond money is due 10/2 can she pay?  Is she going to ask for the horses and llamas back? Does she have the money to pay the care bond?   It sure seems if she is asking for an independent evaluation that she has intentions of asking for them back. Hopefully the court can see it is not in the best interest of the horses to go back to her.

Also the Justice for Dual Peppy Facebook page is reporting a dump truck and skid steer have shown up at the property.  Most likely to get it cleaned up. It is looking more and more like she is going to attempt to get all the animals back.  Let’s hope the courts can get it together to prevent all of that from happening.

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I also wonder if the unrelated scandal going on in El Paso county is going to affect this case.  I sure hope not but they are not sitting pretty right now either.

We will be following closely and update if we hear more from the vet.

 

http://www.krdo.com/news/el-paso-county-receives-first-bill-from-law-firms-investigating-sheriffs-office/28274916

Sherri Brunzell just keeps getting worse.

The past few days a whole lot has come out about Sherri, about her horses, felony vs misdemeanor charges and it seems everything in between. What we now know is 14 skeletal remains were recovered from the property and 10 living horses (6 mares and four stallions), along with 4 llamas, were seized and taken to an undisclosed location where they are being properly cared for.  They have gotten much needed farrier care and better food to put their weight back on. Barring any true medical conditions they should gain weight fairly quickly.

Now we are hearing about the other horses involved in Sherri’s abuse.  There have been estimates that the value of the dead horses is over $2 million.  Which is so ridiculous since selling one could have paid to feed the rest for years to come.  Sherri owned Playin in Style and Playboys’s Madera both high level performance horses.  Although Playboy’s Madera would have been 32 this year.  Playin in Style would have been 18.  I haven’t heard from any reliable source if these horses are among the dead or living but I think it would be hard for a 32 year old horse to survive what Sherri put them through.

So why did this happen?  Why if she could have sold them did she keep them, hide them and then let them die?  Acquaintances of hers from Texas say she threw money around like “they were printing it”. I did find she has a large holding of mineral rights in Idaho.  But did the money run out?  Did her pride get in the way of caring for them properly?  These horses had to have had a regular vet when the money way good, who was it? Where did they go?  So many unanswered questions.

http://m.krdo.com/news/broker-says-owner-of-seized-horses-paid-more-than-15-million-for-animals/28237416

We do know Sherri has at this point been charged with misdemeanor Animal Cruelty.  I know a lot of people feel it should be a felony charge.  I think a felony charge is going to be hard to prove because there is going to be no way to tell cause of death from bones.  Which is really unfortunate because I think deliberate actions on her part caused all these horse’s deaths and she deserves the felony charge but there is no way to prove it.  Hopefully she has confessed something to investigators that they can use against her and bump up the charges but I am not holding my breath.

We are also finding out that the horses were in poor condition in September of 2013.  Several photos were taken and supposedly shared with the Brunzells to show their horses weren’t thriving.  The Brunzells claimed they were going to change their feeding program to get the horse back on track  but clearly that didn’t happen.  No mention of why the horses weren’t reported to the authorities then or if these pictures have since being given to investigators.

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Taken in September 2013

Taken in September 2013

The AQHA has sanctioned the Brunzells and they are no longer able to participate in any events or have any other AQHA benefits.  I don’t know how that will impact the transfer of ownership of these horses when the time comes but I am sure the AQHA can make exceptions.

So where do we go from here? It is wonderful to see so many people stepping up for the horses and demanding justice for them.  To show as a community we will not tolerate this type of behavior.  We also need to remember while this is a high profile case, right now these horses are being cared for.  Every day there are horses who are neglected and abused.  If this case boils your blood but you are too far or unable to help look at local organizations that need help year round taking care of horses pulled from similar situations.  If you want to donate to helping the horses in rehab click here, If you want to sign a petition for the maximum penalty for Sherri Brunzell click here.

Update on Sherri Brunzell And Updated again!

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region has finally been called out to help with the horses! Channel 11 News is reporting the horses are in the process of being removed.  Thanks to all that called, petitioned and work to get these horses out of the Brunzell’s care.  Now on to the criminal charges!

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New news article, husband speaks out

http://www.koaa.com/news/horse-owner-s-husband-speaks-out-about-skeletal-remains-found-in-barn/

This woman, and her husband are idiots.  They are now claiming that twelve horses died last year due to colic because of the cold.  Nope sorry they may have died to exposure from the cold because they had no meat on their bones or maybe they did colic because their stomach was eating itself.  Either way it is a very poor excuse.  These people are lazy, stingy assholes.  The horses died and they couldn’t deal with them. How about the several livestock removal services, oh yeah those cost money and then maybe they would see that the remaining horses aren’t looking so good either.   It is too bad that the horses have decomposed to bones so it will be very difficult to determine cause of death.   The article says they met with a vet yesterday, I wonder when the last time that happened was.  They are probably in desperate need of teeth floating and wormer.  Because if you aren’t feeding them you aren’t giving basic care either.

If they hadn’t been caught when would they have cleaned up the property?  When they all were dead?  This is way too little too late and they need to be held responsible for what has happened.

Last night I reread the sheriff’s statement and it got to me that they said the horses had food and water all along.  So the people who found them were lying.  The video they have of empty bins was doctored?  Come on. I am checking into if this family has political connections because something is fishy here.  Seriously if child protective services rolled up on a case of 12 dead toddlers would they leave the remaining ones because “we don’t know how they died” NO they would pack up the survivors and get them out of there.  Animals are just as innocent as children.  With the DDFL Harmony center just down the road they could have easily taken the horses.  That is what they are there for 100% law enforcement seizure this case would have been perfect for them.

There is a growing movement in the area to get the horses out of the “care” they are getting. I love that Dual Peppy’s previous owner is trying to get him back too.  For such an amazing stallion he should be given the golden retirement he deserves not wondering when his next meal will come.

Here is the link to the change petition https://www.change.org/p/el-paso-county-sheriffs-office-take-action-against-the-vulgar-crime-committed-in-black-forest

Will update more as we get it.  This woman should be banned from ever owning horses again and we need to make that happen. Colorado does have felony animal cruelty laws and she needs to be charged to the fullest extent.

Cavalia – Odysseo

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Since Friday is anything goes day I have to talk about the fantastic experience I had at this Cavalia show.  I did see it when it cam through my town last time and it was spectacular but this time around it is even more amazing.   The stage is larger and they make use of a lot of visual effects.  There are also more acrobatics to break up the all horse program which is nice for non-horsey significant others.  I love that they allow the horses to be horses and they use the stage as their playground.  During a large group join up one particular horse felt it was time to run around and have a good time.  It took his handler a little bit of time to catch him, with the assistance of other handlers but they all handled it like it was no big deal and the horse was well rewarded once in place.  The horses weren’t overbent, they weren’t overbridled, in fact a lot of them where in bitless bridles although it seemed most didn’t even need that. It was a wonderful demonstration of the bond one can have with a horse.  Or four or more!  In one of the mixed acts, there were horses and woman doing the hanging silks, one of the stallions looked just as enthralled with the floating fabric as we were.  The rider kindly kept stroking him until he took a deep breath and the show went on.  I don’t want to give away all the good parts but it really is a beautiful show with many harmonious parts between human and horse.  One not to miss.

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I also love how the horses are treated.  Lots of play time, lots of time off and the best care imaginable.  They have their own veterinarian staff and grooms a plenty although the care if often done by the performers who join them on stage.  They even offer an adoption program for horses coming out of their program for any reason. In addition to adoption they maintain a retirement property for those horses who have retired from performing to live out their lives.  It doesn’t get any better than that.
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http://www.cavalia.net/en for more information and tickets.

Planning for the future!

To get things back on track I would like to start with a post everyday Monday through Friday.

I would like to do them on the following schedule:

Mondays –  Funny/Ridiculous/Dangerous/Peculiar ads from craiglsist or others

Tuesdays- Rescue horses in need of adopting

Wednesdays- Rescue horses where are they now

Thursdays- Post about horse health, barn maintenance, trailer maintenance etc

Fridays- Anything Goes!!!

 

Updates and time sensitive material will be posted as needed.  I really hope to get this back to where is was when we all enjoyed it.  Lots of comments (I will let anything go unless it is personal attacks) and discussion.  We don’t all have to agree, that is what makes it fun and interesting.

Again if you want to have something featured, or have any other comments, suggestions or stories please feel free to submit them to fuglyblog@yahoo.com

 

 

Fugly Horse of the Day

The bitch is back!!! The plan for this is to take it back to the beginning with lots of snark and great information all wrapped into one. For this we will need your help. Send us your funny craigslist ads, your news stories that need attention, rescue horse updates and anything else you think we should feature.  Email us at fuglyblog@yahoo.com.  I probably will create a schedule of certain posts on certain days but I also want to know what you want.