Wednesday, November 28, 2012

ASPCA Guidelines for Responsible Horse Guardianship

Please be sure you can care for a horse properly and for their whole life before you get one.  Here are some great guidlines  to help you make good decisions.  ~Declan

ASPCA Guidelines for Responsible Horse Guardianship

Physical Health The foundation of good horsekeeping is basic husbandry and health care. All horse owners should know their horses, understand what is normal and abnormal for them, and establish a relationship with an equine veterinarian for everything from health maintenance to emergency care.
Emotional Health Horses evolved as social animals grazing on the open plains, ever watchful for danger. They need companionship. If your horse is alone most of the time, you should consider getting a second horse or other animal, such as a goat, for company. Horses in the wild may walk great distances and spend most of their time eating grass. Horses with insufficient opportunity to socialize, move and graze are more likely to have behavioral problems. There are health consequences as well. Given a choice, most horses prefer to be outside under most weather conditions, even those that would make humans uncomfortable. Whenever possible, horses should be allowed on pasture with other horses every day.
Training & Handling 
Humane training is based on a thorough understanding of the nature of horses. Whatever you want to call it, it is not a recent discovery. The basic principles of humane training were espoused two thousand years ago in ancient Greece by Xenophon, who explained that nothing graceful can be forced.
A good deal of learning, experience or guidance is needed to be an effective teacher of horses. On a very fundamental level, this involves applying and releasing pressure to let the horse know what to do and if he is doing it. Too often, horses are punished for being frightened, confused, or unable to do what is asked, or because the human half of the partnership does not recognize that the horse is trying. The more refined the art, the more subtle the cues, corrections, and rewards.
There is no place for fear, “flooding” the horse with stressful overstimulation, or physical punishment. Many horses, however, suffer not from punishment, but from excessive “rewards.” Spoiling your horse can result in health and behavior problems, and could even turn him into a horse who is unable to be handled. Give your horse love, care, guidance, patience, and understanding for free. Save the treats for a purpose and use them wisely.
It is irresponsible to have a completely untrained horse who can’t be handled if you expect that someone else may ever have to take care of him. Every horse should at least learn to accept being caught, haltered, led and loaded on a trailer. This just may save his life.
Disabilities & Old Age Plan ahead for when your horse gets older or otherwise becomes incapable of doing the things you once did together. He can be a valuable companion for another horse, yours or someone else’s—and is a living, breathing reminder that we must follow through on our responsibilities. He still needs good care and attention (probably more than before!), mental stimulation, exercise and a diet appropriate to his age and condition.
Transfer of Ownership 
Do not sell your horse at auction, or to a horse trader you don’t know well. There are alternatives. Be wary of people overly willing to take a “problem horse” off your hands. Be honest and forthcoming, ask a lot of questions, check references, and visit his potential new home if possible. Consider a contract giving you “right of first refusal” should the new owner be unable to keep him. Be realistic about the value someone else will place on your horse, and what his quality of life is likely to be.
End of Life Decisions 
When a horse is very sick or old, there is no easy answer to the question of whether living would be worse than a quick and painless death. Your horse’s veterinarian should explain the problems and prognosis, give you an idea of how much he may be suffering, and help you make a decision, but can not make it for you. It may be the hardest decision you have to make. Don’t become paralyzed waiting for the “right time” or worrying that you missed it. Horses live in the present, and that is your primary concern.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

British Horse Society - A Horse is For Life, Not Just Christmas

This is an important message from the BHS (British Horse Society).  Horse ownership is a responsibility and commitment and you should really think about if and how you will care for a horse for their entire life, before you get one.  ~Declan

BHS: "A Horse is for Life, Not Just for Christmas"

By The Horse Staff • Nov 25, 2012 • Article #30903 As posted on The Horse

While a horse--be it from a rescue or from a seller--might be the ideal Christmas gift for some people, it's important to seriously consider the expenses and time the animals require.

The British Horse Society (BHS) is reminding those considering purchasing a gift horse for Christmas that these animals require care for life.

"There is a heart-breaking problem in this country: hundreds if not thousands of horses being abandoned in fields and roadsides because their owners or breeders cannot or will not care for them," the BHS said in astatement on their website. "So what's wrong with a 'horse for Christmas'? Horses need and deserve skilled care from knowledgeable people. In this market they may be inexpensive to buy, but they can be costly to keep."

Similarly in the United States, many equine rescue and rehabilitation facilities are looking for homes for some or all of their residents. While a horse--be it from a rescue or from a seller--might be the ideal Christmas gift for some people, it's important to seriously consider the expenses and time the animals require.

"The British Horse Society encourages anyone in a position to care properly for a new horse to contact one of the many reputable horse rescue centers who are looking to match you with the right horse," the organization concluded.

Woman at Sunshine Acres Ranch in Arkansas Helps Mistreated Horses

Sandy Kirby is a hero for horses.  She helps horses who have been neglected and mistreated and rehabilitates them, giving them a second chance at a good life.  ~Declan

Romance farm takes on underloved horses

By Emily Van Zandt  As posted on Arkansas Online Three Rivers EditionOriginally Published November 25, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated November 23, 2012 at 9:45 a.m.

PHOTO BY: Curt Youngblood
Sandy Kirby works with Bob at Sunshine Acres Ranch in Romance. Kirby works with malnourished and mistreated horses to restore them to health.
 — This summer’s drought was difficult for many across Arkansas.
For some, it meant charred grass and crops. The cost of feeding livestock skyrocketed. For Sandy Kirby, owner of Sunshine Acres Ranch, it meant more horses in need of help.
“Hay went from $23 to $68.50 a round bale,” Kirby said. “It’s higher than it’s ever been.”
While many owners in the state had been able to let horses graze in years past, the drought left fields nothing more than weeds. Unable to afford hay, desperate owners have been abandoning their horses.
“People are dumping them out in parks or trying to dump them with wild horses on preserves,” Kirby said. “You used to worry about people stealing horses on certain trails. Now, there are signs saying, ‘Make sure you take your horse with you when you leave.’”
With a love of horses going back to when she was just a kid, Kirby began offering horse-rehabilitation services and taking on neglected horses just a few years ago. Since the start of the year, Kirby estimates she has helped rescue around 20 horses from situations where they might otherwise have been taken to a sale barn and likely sent to slaughter. Occasionally, owners who are no longer able to care for their animals call her directly. Other times, it’s local law-enforcement personnel who reach out when they’ve found a neglected horse.
Five months ago, men with the White County Sheriff’s Office brought her Blaze, who had been leg-deep in mud. The horse came in with his ribs jutting out and with open sores on his face from abuse.
“They found him down in Sheridan in a small pen with wet, moldy hay,” Kirby said.
In a large indoor round pen on her 127-acre farm, Kirby, 58, keeps injured horses active and properly fed while working on their balance and fear. She works with a team of six volunteers and hired helpers, along with vets and farriers (specialists in horse hoof care). The staff spends as much time with the horses as possible. Feedings alone take hours a day, but the staff devotes a lot of time to working with individual horses.
“Horses can get lazy, and if it hurts to move, they won’t,” Kirby said. “We slowly work them up to doing little jumps and get them used to noise and sudden movements.”
Having free-roaming chickens often walking in and out of the round pen helps the horses get used to loud noises. Kirby will often kick large inflatable balls around the pen while walking a nervous horse, helping the horse gradually learn not to jump at the unknown movements.
To combat what Kirby describes as “the hay crisis,” the ranch began hydroponically growing sprouts and grass in a large trailer on the property in September. The system, known as a fodder system, was installed at the urging of Kirby’s son, Steven, who is currently deployed with the U.S. Coast Guard. Though he couldn’t be there to help his mom on the ranch, Kirby researched a way to help relieve some of the financial pressure of the hay shortage. Eventually, Kirby hopes to grow enough sprouts and grass on the farm to use 750 pounds of the feed a day. The sprouts, Kirby said, have many health benefits over hay, including helping to prevent ulcers, as well as respiratory and joint issues.
In addition to working with what the horses eat, how they move and building their muscles, Kirby is certified in equine-sports-therapy massage and incorporates it into her rehab work.
“If you’ve had a massage, you know how good it feels, and it’s the same for them,” Kirby said. “It’s about being able to make a horse relaxed.”
Her way with horses keeps people coming back to Sunshine Acres Ranch when they find a horse in trouble. When he was working with the White County Sheriff’s Office, Doyce Dougan of Prattsville brought Blaze to Kirby.
“She can do just about anything with a horse,” Dougan said. “She can take a horse that is limping and massage it and get it healed up. She can take on one that’s just rebellious and work with it until it can walk around calm.”
Though Blaze’s condition brought tears to Kirby’s eyes, Dougan knew she’d be able to bring him back.
“She’s a great person, and you can tell she just loves [the horses] like I do,” Dougan said.
Kirby’s care for the horses extends to the dozens of animals she has on the ranch, which she’s owned since the ’80s. Though she worked as a dental hygienist in the area for years, she now works on the ranch full time raising chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep and horses. The ranch offers riding lessons, a petting zoo, bonfires and birthday parties.
After a cancer diagnosis in 2003, Kirby recovered fully through what she describes as God’s healing. After the ordeal, she became a minister and now runs Romance Roundtop Ministries from the ranch once a month.
Every part of her work, she says, is out of love.
“Seeing that what we do makes a difference is great,” Kirby said.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Young Woman Who Lost Both Legs in an Accident Battles to Get Back in the Saddle

An AMAZING story of perseverance and love!  I would like to meet Santanna someday and shake her hand.  Santanna is very brave and strong and has never given up and I am inspired by her story.  ~Declan

Young woman battles to get back in the saddle after both legs lost in car accident

Published on Saturday November 24, 2012  As posted on TheStar.comShare on facebook
Santanna Marrocco is attempting to have a custom saddle made, so that she can get back to riding horses again. Video by Randy Risling.
Wendy Gillis
Staff Reporter 

November rain pelts the stable roof as a russet thoroughbred trots in circles, his heavy steps carving into the arena ground. Alongside his tracks are the smooth lines left by Santanna Marrocco’s electronic wheelchair.
By the time she finishes exercising Eddie, the imprints of their unlikely friendship are all over Brampton’s Northside stables.
Two years ago, as she lay in hospital reeling from news she lost her legs, Marrocco’s first thoughts were of Eddie. Doctors said she would not ride him again. She worried she would never even see him, touch him, care for him.
Eddie was Marrocco’s Christmas gift when she was 15 and he was 3. Her parents paid for half, and she worked part-time to cover the rest.
A former racing horse, Eddie is skittish, startled by something as innocent as a feather. His previous rider found him difficult, unpredictable. But Marrocco and Eddie clicked, she gained his trust.
After the crash, she feared he would spook at the sight of her.
“I thought it would be impossible, that he’d never let me near him in the chair,” said Marrocco, 26.
The accident kept her from the stable for a year. During her absence, Marrocco’s parents checked on Eddie.
“We would go to the barn and he would recognize our voices, but he would be looking through us, thinking ‘If you guys are here, she’s gotta be here somewhere,’ ” said Marrocco’s father, Rick.
When she finally rolled into the stables, it was not a fairytale reunion. Eddie panicked, shied away from her wheelchair. Marrocco couldn’t stop crying.
With time and more awkward visits, both adjusted. Eddie learned to lower his head so Marrocco could put on his bridle. She can now tack him up, lead him around the arena — “things I never thought I’d ever be able to do again.”
They are victories, small but vital to the biggest goal: riding.
The black SUV was heading towards her on a slick King Township road, and Marrocco couldn’t get out of the way.
It was Dec. 9, 2010. Marrocco and her mother-and-law, both florists, had just finished an arrangement at a client’s home. As they pulled out of the driveway onto the 8th Concession Rd. near Nobleton, they were in a fender-bender with another vehicle.
The cars were damaged but no one was hurt. Marrocco called her husband and father-in-law to the scene. Before long, several cars were parked along the road.
Darkness set in and snow was falling as they waited for police. Marrocco and others were walking about, in and out of cars.
Suddenly, two cars came around the corner. The driver of the first braked and slid.
The second car, an SUV, attempted to swerve away from a crash but lost control. He hit Marrocco, throwing her four metres then running her over. She was dragged six metres as the car careened into a ditch and hit a fence.
Moments passed before anyone realized Marrocco was trapped. When she heard her husband yell for her, she replied weakly. He rushed to her side and began digging her out.
The snow all around her was stained red. She would lose more than half her blood.
The phone was ringing and ringing. Dr. Valerie Krym, an emergency room physician, set down her snow shovel and went inside her home off 8th Concession Rd.
It was her husband, another Sunnybrook physician. He’d heard there had been an accident nearby. He wanted to know she was safe.
Krym hung up, walked down her driveway and saw flashing lights. Numerous ambulances indicated it was serious. Her car in the shop, Krym speed-walked the one kilometre to the crash.
She arrived to find one of the worst trauma patients she’s ever seen. One of Marrocco’s legs had been mostly amputated. The other was “in pieces.” Her pelvis had been crushed. Her blood pressure was critically low.
The ambulance dispatcher instructed paramedics to go to a nearby hospital. Krym knew it would not have the resources to save Marrocco’s life, that she needed a trauma centre. She ordered the driver to go to Sunnybrook.
As they sped through rush hour traffic on the 401, Marrocco asked Krym if she was going to die.
“I told her ‘not on my watch.’ ”
Marrocco was twice resuscitated in the hospital. She recovered from cardiac arrest, extremely uncommon when blood loss is the cause.
Hours later, she went septic. Doctors had to repeatedly remove infected tissue from her legs. She lost inches that would have made it “a million times” easier to use prosthetics, Marrocco said.
“There was a minister in the waiting room,” said Rick Marrocco. “I told him, ‘you’re here in case my daughter dies. I can’t have you be here because I can’t think about that.’ ”
In the weeks that followed, Marrocco was in and out of surgery. She would spend months in hospital, more in rehab, then return to her Bolton home, her life transformed.
Today, she does weekly physio and can use prosthetics. She’s busy every day. A new normal has been established.
She has never heard from the driver of the SUV.
“I’m not mad at him, but I want to know that he thinks about me, that’s all,” she said.
Family and friends have pulled her through. Her husband, Dan Brodie, whom she married two years before the accident, admits “it’s been tough.”
He wed a “typical Italian wife who loves to cook,” Marrocco said, joking that he ate McDonald’s for eight months.
“We’ve stayed strong,” she said. “We’ve worked through it.”
Marrocco wants to get back on a horse, but it will be risky. One fall could leave her paralyzed, or dislodge metal rods, piercing an organ.
She’s commissioned a custom-made saddle. The craftsman she’s working with has built something similar for paralyzed riders, but he will alter the design because she can control her lower body.
The saddle will have extra straps and sockets to support her legs. Her right leg, amputated mid-knee, can handle pressure, but her left will have to be supported on the side. The femur was cut, and it’s “agony” when touched.
She’s been practising the new positioning she’ll take on the horse, strengthening her muscles with an exercise ball.
“I’m too young to be stuck in this stupid chair.”
The saddle could cost up to $10,000, so family and friends are hosting a fundraiser Sunday to help.
The downside is that even with the saddle, Marrocco has decided she will not ride Eddie. She’ll borrow a horse that is calmer and shorter. It’s just too dangerous to ride her skittish companion.
Long-time friend and rider Tracy Formanek has taken Eddie over, and Marrocco is forever thankful he is getting “the love he deserves.” Marrocco now coaches Formanek and other riders at the stable.
Eventually, she will buy her own mild-mannered horse, keeping Eddie all the while.
She’ll house them at the stables she’s determined to build. That’s been the dream all along, and she has no plans to give it up.
Information about the fundraiser for Santanna Marrocco is at

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Salazar's Ties to Wild Horse Buyer Questioned

This whole situation is EXTREMELY upsetting!!  Wild Mustangs are supposed to be federally protected - none of what is happening to them should be going on!!  Why does our Federal Government not follow it's own laws??  ~Declan

Salazar’s Ties to Wild-Horse Buyer Questioned

November 21, 2012
By  as posted on The Colorado Observer

Scott Coffina, a former White House ethics adviser, said any Salazar (right) involvement with the federal sale of wild horses would raise a red flag for investigators
WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ken Salazar’s relationship with a Colorado man who worked for his family’s farm and who is under federal investigation for allegedly selling American wild horses to Mexican slaughter houses came under scrutiny this week.

Tommy D. Davis, a livestock  hauler from La Jara and former independent contractor at the Salazar family farm in nearby Manassa, has been the largest single purchaser of wild horses from the federal government since 2009.

All but 36 of Davis’ 1,777 purchases coincide with Salazar’s tenure as Interior secretary, now in its fourth year.

Scott Coffina, a former White House ethics adviser, said Salazar’s involvement if any with the federal sale of wild horses to Davis would raise a red flag for investigators.

“Did he have knowledge of any sales to Davis at all? … Did the fact that he had a previous relationship with Davis affect the decision? … Did Davis get favorable terms or a better deal?” Coffina said in an interview.

When a government official was asked if Salazar signed off on sales to Davis, the official indicated he had not done so.

“Sale approval is done entirely at the level of the Bureau of Land Management wild-horse program — not the Department of the Interior,” the official wrote. The Bureau of Land Management is part of the Interior department, but the official’s statement suggests that BLM officials had no contact with officials in Secretary Salazar’s office.

Coffina said that unless new information about Salazar’s ties to Davis emerged, federal officials are unlikely to examine their relationship or request that Salazar recuse himself from the the Interior department’s internal investigation of Davis’ sales of the animals.
“The fact that he worked for him — Salazar said it was once or twice — I don’t think there’s any recusal required for that … I don’t see the relationship between Davis and Salazar is close enough in terms of benefit to Davis. It’s not clear how long ago he worked on the farm. Salazar has been in D.C. since 2004,” Coffina said, referring to Salazar’s election as a U.S. Senator.

Blake Androff, a Salazar spokesman, noted that the inspector general of the Interior department launched an investigation of Davis’ sales in June. “The Interior department takes the allegations against Mr. Davis very seriously,” he said, “and we look forward to the results of that inquiry. Anybody that is found to have violated the law should be held accountable.”

Davis did not respond to a voice mail left at his home. He told the online publication Pro Publica that “has done quite a bit of trucking” for Salazar, while Salazar’s brother LeRoy told The Observer last week that Davis worked as an independent contractor for the Salazar family farm once or twice.

Salazar said through a department spokesman he has “no recollection of Tom Davis and to his knowledge, has never had any business dealings with him.”

Although Salazar has not said he knew Davis, his relationship if any with his neighbor could emerge as a flashpoint for federal investigators. Coffina said if investigators present evidence that Davis sold the wild horses to slaughter houses, Salazar may need to recuse himself.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Declan Accepts Award at 2012 ASPCA Humane Awards Luncheon

Photo Credit: Owen Hoffman

Click here for video of the Awards Luncheon including Declan's speech and video telling his story.

I still can not believe I was chosen to be this year's ASPCA Humane Kid of the Year!  I am so honored!  I am so, so, so excited   and I just cannot believe it!  I had the best time ever in New York City and enjoyed my trip very much!  I am so glad that I was chosen for the award because I was able to raise awareness and spread the news about what is happening to our horses to everyone I met!  I got thanked many times for my work and received a lot of support - I could never count all the thank yous I got!   That tells me that people really do care about America's horses and want to see them treated humanely and end horse slaughter forever!  My experience was so amazing in NYC and I would totally love to tell you about my special day.

I woke up sort of early on the morning of the big event!  I could not wait to go to the luncheon and I got dressed as fast as I could dress!  The event was being held in the grand ball room at a huge fancy hotel and there were going to be about 500 people coming to congratulate all the winners.  That's a lot of people going to lunch at the same place in the same room!  

I met a lot of people who care about the animals, including the president of the ASPCA, Ed Sayres!!!  I also got to meet Tommy P. Monahan's parents and grandparents.  Tommy is the boy my award is named after.  Tommy died when he was only 9 years old, after running back into his burning house to rescue his dog Sophie, from the fire.   Meeting the Monahan family was really special for me.  I felt like Tommy was with me at the event and I am very happy to honor his memory with my advocacy for horses.

The Cat of the Year is a handsome black and white boy named Scooter.  Scooter was hurt as a kitten leaving his back kegs paralyzed.  He was rescued by a dog who found him lying in the street who carried Scooter home in his mouth.  His vet saw how special he is a gave him a second chance at life.  Dr. Kennon adopted Scooter and takes him to nursing homes and rehabilitation centers to visit people there and inspire patients.  He is a really cool cat and was really playful with me.  His mom was holding him while they were taking pictures of us, and he kept reaching out and tapping me to me to get my attention.  

I also got to meet Fiona, the Dog of the Year and her parents.  Fiona was abandoned in a trash heap outside a shop.  When she was rescued, they found out she was also totally blind.  Fiona is a survivor and shows what happens when animals are given a second chance.  Fiona's eyesight has been restored and she is living a wonderful new life with her adoptive parents and three new poodle sisters.  Fiona is a very cute dog!  

Photo Credit: Owen Hoffman

Photo Credit: Owen Hoffman
When we all entered the ballroom and sat down, the Master of Ceremonies, Chuck Scarborough, welcomed us and told us about the special event and to enjoy our meal!  About 15 minutes later, Mr. Scarborough introduced Mr. Sayres to come up and he gave a welcoming speech.  Next, we all got to see the videos made by the ASPCA of each recipient and hear from them.  Scooter was first,  and I was next to receive my award.  I was walked up to the podium and shook hands with both Mr. Sayres and Mr. Scarborough. They presented the video about me and I gave my speech.    You can watch the video my mom took of the video that was made of my story and my speech here.  (She was trying to watch me so the picture is off to the side a little bit).  

This is what I said...

Photo Credit: Owen Hoffman
Thank you so much, for the great honor of being this year’s ASPCA Humane Kid of the Year.  I still can’t believe I was chosen for this award, with so many great kids doing wonderful things for animals, all over our country.  I am truly grateful, and I thank you not only on my behalf, but also on behalf of America’s horses, both domestic and wild.  It feels great to know that I have so much support from everyone here, and that is what keeps me going.  I also want to thank my mom, dad and little brother Aidan, who have encouraged me over the last year, to never give up.  And I have a special thank you for my mom, who has been by my side every step of the way, and has taught me that even though I am a kid, my voice matters and is important too.  She is also a great travel companion.   

Animals are an important part of my life and I love them all, but I have a special place in my heart for horses.  They are amazing, beautiful, animals, who are not only our companions and friends, but also our healers.  I feel a special connection and bond with them that keeps my soul alive.  Horses have helped us build our country and economy.  They have been by our sides as we built railroads and communities, plowed our fields, helped us deliver the mail, news, and much needed supplies.  Horses have been there as our companions and for sport, and even when we have gone to war.  Today, horses are still our trusted companions, and continue to help us in special ways like as therapy horses, helping children and adults through physical as well as mental disabilities.  They teach us how to love and to trust.

Photo Credit: Owen Hoffman
Last year, I learned about the inhumane, cruel and unnecessary slaughter of America’s horses and I knew right away it was wrong and that I had to do something, anything, everything, I could think of to help them and be their voice. I started my organization, Children 4 Horses, to raise awareness, show people how important horses are in our lives and culture, and to inspire other kids as well as adults, to fight for humane treatment of horses and to end horse slaughter for good.

Some may see me as just a kid, but I know I can make a difference and affect change in our world, not only for horses, and other animals, but also, for ourselves.  I hope that my work will empower other kids and adults to raise their voices for animals too.

Animal advocacy is not just about saving the animals.  It’s a decision to stand up and do the right thing – a decision of morality.  It’s a commitment and takes a lot of hard work.  We rescue animals and somehow, they rescue us.

I would like to end with a special thank you to the wonderful New Yorkers who stood up and said NO to the M Wells Diner to horse meat on their menu.  When we work together and stand up for animals, we can accomplish great things!

I will fight until we have won for the horses! 

When I got my award, my heart was beating fast and I was very excited!!  The award is a horse which makes it even more special to me.  The ASPCA was founded by Henry Bergh, who worked to save carriage horses in New York City and the award represents his work.

 When the luncheon was over, many people came up to me to congratulate and thank me again.  I made a lot of great connections and hope they will be able to help me continue my work for horses.  I had the best time ever and I feel so proud to honor our horses!  

I will fight until we have won for the horses!!!  ~Declan

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Heroic Horse Sefton, Who Defied the IRA, Immortalised in Bronze

Sefton was an amazingly brave horse who's spirit never died.  This sculpture will commemorate his courage, bravery and fight for life after being horribly wounded in battle.  Be sure to check out the pictures at the end which show you how Sefton's statue was made.  They are really cool pictures and I like how this article shows you the process.  It took the artist two years to create the life-size bronze statue of Sefton and I think its really beautiful!  ~Declan 

Sefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze

Sefton, the Household Cavalry horse who survived the IRA bombing in Hyde Park, will be commemorated with a sculpture to be unveiled next year.

Trooper Michael Pederson who was riding Sefton when the bomb went off takes an affectionate leave of his mount at Knightsbridge Barracks in 1984  Photo: Srdja DjukanovicSefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze

His indomitable spirit saw him become a symbol of triumph over adversity when he survived one of the IRA’s most infamous attacks.
Now, Sefton, the Household Cavalry horse wounded in the IRA bombing in Hyde Park that killed four soldiers and seven horses, will be commemorated with a sculpture commissioned by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).
A life-size, bronze statue of Sefton, depicting the black gelding in a brisk walk, will be unveiled at the RVC’s campus in Hawkshead, Herts, next year.
Camilla Le May, the RVC’s artist in residence, spent two years working on the project and six months creating the sculpture, which weighs three quarters of a ton
She studied photographs of Sefton, and spoke with many people who rode and cared for the him at the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and the Horse Trust sanctuary where he retired, while creating the work.
She also used a real-life model in the form Ed, an Irish Draught, the same breed as Sefton, who was loaned by the Bedgebury Equestrian Centre in Kent to model for Miss Le May in her studio over several months.
Sefton’s statue is moved before waxing
Ed posed while loosely tied up eating hay or being held by the artist on a long rein while she sculpted with her free hand.
Miss Le May, 39, from Wadhurst, East Sussex, said: “It has been a huge honour and I hope the work depicts both Sefton’s courage and spirited character. Sefton wasn’t just any horse - he means so much to so many people.”
Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles, who was the Household Cavalry’s commanding officer at the time of the IRA attack, and is patron of the project, said: “It has been wonderful to see this work from its beginnings and now seemingly to be meeting an old friend again.
"I remember Sefton for his courage and also for his spirit. For me, he epitomises the finest qualities we see in our Armed Forces.”
Sefton was among 15 horses of the Blues and Royals regiment on duty for the Queen’s Life Guard on July 20, 1982 when an IRA car bomb exploded close to the regiment’s Knightsbridge barracks.
A second bomb in Regent’s Park two hours later killed seven bandsmen of the Royal Green Jackets, on a day that claimed more casualties than any other IRA attack on mainland Britain.
More than 50 people were injured in the attacks and pictures of the horses’ corpses lying among the debris became one of the enduring images of the Troubles.
Sefton survived, despite sustaining 38 injuries, including a partially severed jugular vein and a badly damaged eye.
It is believed his life was saved by a guardsman who tore off his shirt and used it to stem the flow of blood on the orders of the then Lt Col Parker Bowles.
Sefton, who was 19 at the time of the attack, underwent surgery for more than eight hours - a record for equine surgery at the time - where 28 pieces of shrapnel were removed from his body.
He was given a 50 per cent chance of survival, but made a full recovery and returned to duty within three months, serving with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment for another two years where he was often ridden by Sergeant Michael Pedersen, his rider on the day of the IRA attack.
Sefton’s fighting spirit attracted many fans. He was named “horse of the year” at the 1982 Horse of the Year Show at Wembley Arena, and received a standing ovation when he and Sgt Pedersen appeared at the show.
Thousands of well-wishers sent donations to the Household Cavalry, which were used to fund the Sefton Equine Hospital at the RVC’s campus in Hawkshead, which was replaced with a new facility in 2010.
The RVC has trained vets who have served in the armed forces since the 18th century. Many of its students go on to serve in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, which provides vets to work in Afghanistan caring for military dogs and the livestock of locals.
Jonathan Forrest, the College’s development director, said: “The College wants to mark its long association with the military and military animals.
"Sefton’s courage and resilience in the face of his awful injuries propelled him on to a national stage and it seemed appropriate that his spirited victory be remembered. The statue commemorates Sefton and all the animals that serve.”
After 17 years of military service, Sefton retired to the Horse Trust sanctuary in Buckinghamshire in 1984 aged 21, where he lived until the age of 30.
Brigadier Paul Jepson, the former chief executive of the Horse Trust and honorary veterinary surgeon to the Queen, said: “Sefton had bags of character. Other horses who survived the Hyde Park bombing were left traumatised and unable to return to their duties.
“Sefton was different. His bravery was remarkable.”
Sefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze
The armature was designed...

Sefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze
...and scaled up from the maquette

Sefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze
The sculpting began after the first layer of clay was loaded on to the frame

Sefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze
On completion of the sculpting, the foundry came to Miss Le May's studio to create a mould on site

Sefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze
First, rubber was painted on...

Sefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze
...then a glass fibre case fitted to support it

Sefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze
The mould was removed and taken back to the foundry, where wax was painted into the 17 sections. Miss Le May touched up and checked the wax sections, which were then coated with a ceramic shell and placed in a kiln for the wax to melt out 

Sefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze
Molten bronze was then poured in, before the ceramic shell was cracked off 

Sefton, heroic horse who defied IRA, immortalised in bronze
The bronze sections were assembled, welded together, 'chased' to remove any casting marks and fettled. Finally, the work was patinated and waxed  

The Household Cavalry has operational and ceremonial roles and raises funds for their casualties, veterans and horses through the Household Cavalry Foundation. The Foundation has recently published Uniquely British - A Year in the Life of the Household Cavalry -
* A maquette of the Sefton sculpture will be exhibited at the Society of Equestrian Artists Annual Open Exhibition, The Menier Gallery, London, SE1, November 20 to December 1