Equine trust in France seeks help to meet demand

Breton cob Peter and ponies Domino and Freddie are residents at the Epona Trust

An animal rescue charity is seeking helpers and foster homes due to a rise in the number of horses, ponies and donkeys it takes in.

Ann Heighington looks after 37 animals on her land at La Lucerne-d’Outremer, Lower Normandy, with another 20 being looked after by volunteers elsewhere.

Four more are booked to arrive and Mrs Heighington is in urgent need of more foster homes in the area.

She is especially looking to home an aged pony and its offspring, which need a quiet family to care for them after their owner died.

“I take in the animals that would otherwise end up at the abattoir: the broken ones, who no one else wants, rather than ones that can still be ridden,” said Mrs Heighington.

“My aim is to find more people to help and to get someone who can eventually take over. I am 65 and want to find a solution before I can no longer look after them.”

Mrs Heighington started looking after Dartmoor ponies in the UK in 1977 and formed the Epona Trust in 1996.

Dylan the donkey is looking for a foster home

In 2005, she moved to France, because she needed more land.

She has found her work is perhaps even more necessary in Normandy, where many breeders do not wish to keep their horses once they are sick or elderly:

“I have someone who is helping convert a building into self-catering accommodation so that a volunteer could live in,” said Mrs Heighington.

“However, we do need to raise money for materials to complete it.

“I should fundraise but do not have the time and am not very good at it. If anyone would help, it would be lovely.”

For more details, visit the eponatrust.org website.

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