Beautiful Benjamin is our gentle giant, standing at 18 hands – a whole hand higher than the average height of a shire. He’s an old Irish draft horse who’s with us for his retirement years.
Like lots of larger horses, he’s spent most of his days in working environments. He was regarded as a highly valuable horse, beginning his working life as a stud horse, before becoming master of the hunt, and in time a school master. Later in his career, he was used as an RDA (riding for the disabled association) horse and then a trekking horse – he’s had quite a life.
However, unlike our other retired horses, Benjamin was not in good health. In fact, in his first vetting, the exercise part of the test had to be halted due to Benjamin’s alarming breathing. The vet we worked with can only be described as wonderful, spending 6 hours explaining his extensive health complications to us and creating a plan of action. To put it simply, Benjamin’s eyes and ears were the only parts of him that were sound. He was giving up.
The two years that followed saw Benjamin introduced to hard feed to get his weight back up, as well as an impressive number of supplements and wardrobe of rugs. His vet visits cost between £800 and £900 per go – he’s a big boy to medicate! But we were determined not to give up on Benjamin; he deserved a happy retirement and we wanted to provide it for him.
Thankfully, Benjamin is now thriving. He gets daily TLC, and some well-deserved rest and relaxation has brought his soul back to life. He has 13 acres to roam at his pleasure, as well as companionship, his open stable at night, large breakfasts, dinners and, of course, endless attention.
We’re happy to say Benjamin’s already lived past the life expectancy given to him by the veterinary professionals – in fact, in recent years, a farrier told us he only had a few years left in him. He’s now been with us for six years and we treasure him everyday.
Our big boy is proof that older horses can not only enjoy but thrive in their retirement homes. To keep him healthy and happy in his later years, we ask you to consider helping us care for Benjamin by purchasing him a gift below.
Like most of our wonderful rescue animals, Benjamin takes a lot of looking after. From the continuous changing of rugs to suit Benjamin’s sensitivity to the weather, to trying to keep up with his massive appetite, to ensuring healthy activity levels, he certainly keeps us (and our funds) busy!
We opened the Far From Holiday Retreat in order to provide us with funds to enable us to continue our work with these beautiful animals. All new arrivals must be microchipped and passported (and normally they aren’t), vaccinated three times, rasped, wormed and given a general health check by the vet – with the majority requiring many more visits to ensure that they are happy and healthy.
If you are unable to come and visit us, you can still help us to continue our work by supporting us financially. We have included a couple of options below.
Horses are used to eating small meals throughout the day and breaking up the treats will help maintain their eating schedule. Almost any fruits – and many vegetables – are safe treats for healthy horses. Apples and carrots are traditional favourites especially with our horses!
We feed Chaff to our larger horses and ponies to bulk out their concentrate feed and to prevent them eating too quickly. Chaff is dried forage that has been cut into small pieces, in contrast to the long grass stems in hay and haylage. All of our horses and ponies absolutely love it
We use fly spray for our horses and ponies especially in the summer months. Flies are a general nuisance, but for some of our horses their bites can lead to reactions and persistent itching and discomfort, so this really is a lifesaver as they are highly effective and long-lasting!
Fly masks can help provide a healthy and stress free environment in the stable and the pasture for our horses especially in the warmer months. They cover the most vulnerable parts of the horse, the eyes, jaw, and sometimes ears and muzzle, protecting it from nasty and painful bites!
Salt is the one nutrient that horses will self-supplement to balance their diet and is a real treat for Algernon! He gets very excited when he gets a salt lick and becomes great entertainment for him and us!
Every equine needs their hooves trimmed every 6 to 10 weeks (depending on the horse). To have a happy, healthy horse it is essential to have a fully qualified, caring, reliable farrier to complete this task.
A lightweight rug will keeps the chill off Benjamin when temperatures drop at night and also dry in wet weather without him becoming overly hot on warmer days. Benjamin is sensitive to weather so we need all sorts of rugs!
Additional joint supplements are absolutely essential for all of our elderly horses and ponies (such as Benjamin) – keeping them active and happy, in turn giving them the retirement worth having.