Many thanks to ALL our sponsors who have given these animals a second chance to live in a well-cared for environment at the Friendicoes Gurgaon Sanctuary in India [ Partner group of Animal Aid Abroad Inc].
Your compassion and kindness has made a big difference to these animals!
The smartest and wiliest horse in the sanctuary turned 8 this year. And we are happy to tell her sponsors that she is keeping good health, is as spunky as ever and continues to charm everyone with her effervescence and beauty. This season the hairstylist has given her the forelock look and she proudly shows it off to every visitor who comes to meet her.
Sundari loves to be out in the field and despite the harsh summer and the heat she prefers the open sky to the shade. So, she is hardly ever stabled and left out in the field the whole time. There is a shade in the centre of the field for her to shelter under in case there is light rain. Only when there is a thunderstorm is Sundari put inside. She continues to be social with all new animals making the job easy for her caretakers to introduce her to newcomers. After her "obesity attack" last year the staff keep an extra eye on her diet, because this gorgeous girl loves her food! A little too much.
It makes us extremely happy to write this update on Radha. We had mentioned in our last update that age is catching up with her and she had been left very weak after a bout of illness. The vets had also warned us about winter taking its toll on her and her survival was at stake. Thankfully we had a lean winter and the arrangements made at the sanctuary for the older horses last winter ensured that Radha made it and regained her strength.
She is presently enjoying the sun on her old and much abused bones. She spends a lot of time outdoors, and even enjoys an occasional short canter all on her own. After she was out of her quarantine period following her illness last year, she at last joined the old herd although she stands at the edge and is aloof. Tolerance and social niceties are too much to expect of her at this stage in life. The other horses do not trouble her, and she is leading a quiet, peaceful life on her own terms. Hopefully she will be with us for a few more years.
Truffles had a hard time with her mom's passing last year but on the good side it has led to her learning to live life away from her mother's shadow. She has grown to be more outgoing and social than ever before. And now hangs out with Meethi, Titli and couple of other girls. She can be seen interacting with them, getting into mock fights, and even nuzzling them. This group of young ladies seems to have determined their pecking order in the herd and Truffles has made her place and peace with them. She is still nervous around new people and hence it is a wrench if both the caretakers she is familiar and comfortable with have to go on leave together. Usually such a situation is avoided so that she does not develop any anxiety with a new handler. We are working on socializing her more with visitors and other staff so that she does not get stressed out if her caretaker changes or new people enter her field.
She has also put on some weight and her coat is shining and glossy. In short, this season Truffles is looking her best. She has now stepped into adulthood having completed 4 years a few months back and is one of the best-looking mares at the sanctuary. We hope to be able to give you happy updates on her for the next many years.
Everyone's favourite girl, Meethi is full of what the French call Joie de vivre or the joy of living. Charming, mischievous with gorgeous looks, Meethi is the sanctuary's joy and life. There is not a horse she will not befriend or a visitor she will not welcome. Last year she was a great support & comfort to Sundari who went through a tough time battling obesity and the subsequent inflamed joints. The whole time Meethi gave her company inside the stables and during her short walks. She made a significant contribution to Sundari's recovery by providing the psychological support no one else could have given Sundari.
This season she is seen having fun with other young ladies like Truffles and Titli and simply enjoying the simple pleasures of life. A romp around her enclosure, some mock fights & games with her friends, the wind in her mane and the sun on her face not to forget the treats she is partial to, something she has a steady supply of due to everyone's special fondness for her.
Ever since the "accidental" kick she received last year, Noori has withdrawn more into herself. She has also lost weight and does not seem interested to be in the crowd. Always the last one to eat and an introvert, she now needs to be fed separately if she is to eat anything at all. She gets spooked quickly and prefers to keep a little distance from all other animals. The caregivers keep an extra eye on her, ensuring she does not miss meals and is not bullied by other mischievous donkeys up to their tricks. Many times, she is even left open in the general courtyard of the Sanctuary's large animal section since she is no trouble and minds her own business. Noori will continue to be monitored and given extra TLC.
Three-year-old Titli has the wind in her legs. If there is a horse who loves to run it is our Titli. Her racehorse father's genes show strong in her love for running. Remember she is the girl whose mom was one of the 50 odd horses rescued from the neglected stud farm. At the time her mom Chaya was pregnant and gave birth to Titli at the Friendicoes sanctuary 6 months after her rescue. She is no doubt the fastest runner among the horses at the sanctuary considering the amount of practice she puts in. The smallest thing gets her off galloping around the field in happiness or excitement. The next favourite thing is to roll in mud and cool off after she has had a spirited run. She is always the one in the most need of grooming.
Titli is no more her mother's shadow. She is attending "school", learning to be a lady, and getting up to all kinds of mischief in the process. Her favourite trick is to sneak up behind unsuspecting people and scare them silly breathing down their neck. Being the youngest of all the horses at the sanctuary she gets some extra attention and pampering from the caregivers.
Our dear Ila is looking healthy and doing well. She has discovered a new love for "petting" and is often hanging out near the fence hoping for some attention from staff and visitors passing by her enclosure. So, Ila ensures she cannot be missed by standing where she can greet all the humans and get her daily dose of petting while at it. After being limited to inside the stables for a long time due to the wound she had arrived with that took a very long time to heal, she seems to be now making up for all the missed attention that other donkeys have enjoyed all this time. She is turning into a people's donkey and prefers to be around humans rather than other donkeys.
There is no doubt that Koyna is an extraordinary girl! After all, she survived a difficult birth when her mom lay unattended in a forgotten back lane for many long hours in the freezing cold. She has grown up into this smart, playful girl who is wildly popular and overly loved. You will never miss her in a crowd because there is always some activity happening around Koyna. She has this knack of butting her nose in everyone's business but get away without offending anyone. Such is her charm! The little monkey.
Tapi is getting on in years. And she has started to look it. Prior to being rescued while she was pregnant she must have led a hard life like all beasts of burden in almost every corner of the world. She is not as old as she looks but a hard life can make the youngest of them age at double the rate. For now, Tapi is in good health, though she is much slower and is not very enthusiastic about meals. She must be prodded and pushed towards the feed and her caregiver must ensure that she has eaten her meal. The slightest bullying by another donkey makes her lose the very little interest she has in eating. She spends most of her time dozing in a corner of the field.
Quiet & "elegant" Chaya is the quintessential lady of the place. No unruly, bad behaviour from her. No unpleasant surprises. Easy going, laid back and content left to her own company.She does not need much monitoring or minding. Gentle with her caregivers, indifferent to visitors and with no quirks she blends into her surroundings very smoothly. Chaya is not very fond of boisterous horses, so she is usually left alone or with older, less active equines whose only activity can be seen at meal times when they make their way to the feed troughs from their own corners of the field. One thing she enjoys thoroughly are her grooming sessions and you can almost see her preening after she is done.
Like old wine, Vayu seems to be getting better with age. He has been with us for 5 years now and is completely blind. We think he is around 14 years old, but a hard life and lack of a nutritious diet contributed to his early blindness and weak muscles. He no longer needs to be watched around other animals. Known for his infamous kicks when he first arrived and injured a few other unsuspecting animals, he had to be kept solitary for a period of time to prevent him fatally injuring someone but with time he has settled down. It's been a couple of years now since we heard about the last "tantrum" of Vayu. He now spends his time in a corner of the field with other senior or handicapped equines who like a quiet life and prefer to keep to themselves. He is fed separately from the others, just to ensure no tempers start flying but overall Vayu is no longer "difficult".
Mudra looks like age has caught up with her, but she is healthy and reports no health issues. She also enjoys hanging out with the herd now and is social with both her herd mates and visitors. We have newly discovered that she adores being cooed over and is happiest hanging around people. Her sweet nature gets her a lot of attention till she decides to nip at your scarf or bag (or back!). That is her own way of showing her affection tells the caretaker. Quite a change from the shy, unsocial girl from 5 years back.