Pets at Home Help Out

Earlier this month we hosted a team building day for 25 Store Managers from Pets at Home stores around the South East. The event was organised as part of their Better World Pledge and their vision to become the most responsible pet care business in the world.

Between them they painted the stables and the area where Holly and Grace, our two blind girls, live and then after lunch went out to de-dung in the fields!

Sue Burton, founder of the charity said, “They were such a great team who worked really hard and got so much work completed – they were a great help to us.”

Thank you to each and every one of you, and to Dave who organised the event, you did a great job and made a huge difference!

If you would like to organise a team building event at Remus Horse Sanctuary, perhaps as part of your CSR programme, please email Sue Burton at: or telephone the office on: 01277 356191.

Does your Horse need that Rug?

As horse owners, when we feel that chill in the air, our natural reaction is to pop a rug on our horse, but a scientist believes we’ve got it wrong…

It’s almost Spring yet there’s a distinct chill in the air and many of us have been experiencing snow. When we need to pop on that extra thick jacket in the morning, we think our horses must be feeling the cold too, but according to scientist Dr David Marlin we need to alter the way we think.

According to Dr Marlin, it’s thermoregulation that is the key. We all know that if we’re too hot we sweat, too cold and we start to shiver. The same apparently applies to horses.

However, the difference is that larger animals are able to retain heat far better than smaller ones – humans feel cold once the temperature dips below 25 degrees C. However, a horse doesn’t feel the cold until it’s a chilly 5 degrees C. Dr Marlin reminds us that a horse with a natural coat is wearing the equivalent of a 4 Tog duvet! However, clipped horses may feel colder sooner – and at Remus Horse Sanctuary we have a number of animals who are elderly or have health problems, who also need to be treated differently.

If you’d like to learn more about the science behind Dr Marlin’s research, click on the link to read the article:

Remus Horse Sanctuary Celebrates 40th Anniversary

2023 sees Remus Horse Sanctuary in Essex celebrate its 40th anniversary. Sue Burton, founder of the charity in 1983, recounts how it all started and those first ten years:

“Coming from London I had never met a horse so was amazed when having moved to Essex, on a trip to see a friend I noticed a field full of horses and remember thinking how many there were. I knew nothing about them and therefore was oblivious to the fact that these horses were in desperate need of help, until I saw the photograph on the front page of the Romford Recorder in February 1983 [pictured] about the horses at Rainham Marshes, and this is what got me started.

“I could not believe that in this day and age we allowed animals to die and did nothing. This gave me the impetus to go back over and try to help and contact other animal welfare people in the area – friendships and acquaintances that have lasted to this day.

“After being involved with the Rainham Marsh horses, my friend Pat and I soon heard of the awful plight of Remus [pictured]. Again, I could not believe that another horse had died, another entity wiped out, and yet so few people seemed to care. 

“Before long, I was involved in an animal rights group and because Pat had equine knowledge, she and I went out to see a horse that was meant to be in a bad way and in particular her foal was becoming a nuisance – apparently attacking people on the footpath. We went out to Hornchurch and found Misty [pictured], tethered with the most enormous swollen face and her foal – cheeky chappie Pickles running amok in the area! 

“We were able to take them both and took them to a yard in Aveley where sadly the vet diagnosed Misty as having a fractured skull, which had happened some months before when she was one of those horses left on Rainham Marshes. We had no option but to end her suffering and let her go but poor Pickles was distraught. It took many months for him to start interacting and playing again. He remained a cheeky chappie all his life and loved getting up to mischief when he was able to.

“Once we had Pickles, we had to find somewhere to keep him so took on a few stables and fields in Havering-atte-Bower. Then followed Jenna donkey with severely overgrown hooves; Butch a 5-day-old calf who had been left to die, and then Caesar [pictured] who had been illegally castrated and left in a stable on 5 ft of dung. Instead of mucking him out the owner just had a square of the roof cut out for his head to stick out, the entire length of his spine was cut where it had rubbed against the roof. It was pitiful to see him, and it took many visits before we were able to convince the owner to let us take him.

“In these situations, it’s always important to achieve what you need – to get the animal out of the awful situation and you don’t want to upset the owner as you want to help the animal. We have always said a large part of our work is social work before we can help the animal. This was a perfect example – as I remember only too clearly her dog constantly chewing on my wrist – which I put up with as I so wanted to get Caesar out of there! When we did get him out the first year was fraught with him needing an operation, him dragging us almost daily face down across the muck heap and nearly giving Pat an unplanned mastectomy. Funny now but not then!

“We went on to take in many animals and I always recall getting a call in 1987 to some horses in Essex. We stumbled late at night over fields that were 3-4 ft deep in snow. I gave up trying to count how many times we fell over in the snow in the pitch darkness. When we entered the Barn we stopped dead in our tracks – as an animal Belsen met us.

“Emaciated, lice infested animals, without food, water or bedding. Their urine frozen to the ground. The youngsters had never been let out and did not know how to walk and, when we could take the horses out the next day, we had to move each leg for the youngsters as they did not appear to be able to walk. The bigger one Benjamin [pictured] had had a stake rammed through his stifle (the area where the tibia meets the femur) which went on to cause him problems throughout his life. We took five horses out and all had such awful problems. Getting them well became all-consuming and we worked so hard to give them the best we could to allow them to go on to lead healthy lives and to forget about all they had experienced at such a young age.

“The cases came in thick and fast – horses kept in houses, the awful plight of the Rush Green Horses – suffering seemed to be everywhere, and we did what we could for those that we could. For Ben who had been left with a fractured pelvis and we couldn’t save, despite a scaffold company, the Fire Brigade and vets involved in trying to assist him.

“Little Heidi came to us in 1987 at just 5 days old. Her mum had been tethered and had died on the chain and Heidi was left with a headcollar that had cut into her face. She needed years of care including operations to get her well but went on to live a lovely life, except when she got us into trouble having decided it was fun to pick people up by their clothing and push them into the ditch!

“In 1992 Dorset came in pitifully thin and covered in cigarette burns – as you can see from the photo.


“The most rewarding part of the job is to get the animals beyond what they have suffered. To get the weight on, to ease their mental suffering, to help them get over what they have suffered, and it never fails to amaze me that whatever they suffer at the hands of humanity – they always begin to trust again!

“It’s just an amazing feeling to be able to win their trust after all that they have endured.”

The story obviously continues and hopefully will for many years to come but, in conclusion, Sue says: “I am so proud of what Remus has achieved in its 40 years. I am proud of where we are now and how much we have improved. I am proud of everyone who is involved now and has been involved over those years in whatever way to help develop us to do the work we now achieve.”

Look out for further information on the website and Facebook page, as the charity celebrates throughout the year.

Remus Horse Sanctuary is fundraising for winter food. Learn more here >

Winter Feeding for a Calm and Healthy Horse

Winter isn’t without its challenges, and this includes keeping your horse healthy, happy and looking their best. Inevitably shorter days and dismal weather can mean reduced turnout, irregular exercise and less hacking opportunities to blow the cobwebs away. Feeding plenty of forage to keep the horse occupied when stabled for longer also means keeping an eye on your horse’s waistline.

Fibre and oil for a calm ride

For a calmer ride research has shown that feeding sources of slow-release energy from fibre and oil is key. Using a feed that supplies an appropriate amount of energy for a reduced workload will not only help with a calmer ride but also help to keep the waistline in check as well.

Dengie Hi-Fi Molasses Free combines chopped and pelleted alfalfa and straw with a light rapeseed oil coating, mint, and fenugreek for added tastiness. Hi-Fi Molasses Free contains very low levels of energy, sugar and starch making it ideal for horses at rest or in light work that need to watch their weight or can be excitable. Simply combine with vitamins and minerals to balance the ration.

Maintaining skin, coat and hoof condition

UK pasture and forage typically lacks the trace minerals copper, selenium and zinc and conserved forage also lacks vitamin E. Ensuring a balanced ration and adding some extra beneficial nutrients such as biotin can help with the environmental challenges to your horse’s skin, coat and hooves in the winter.

Healthy Hooves Molasses Free combines chopped and pelleted alfalfa and straw with a light rapeseed oil coating, vitamins, minerals, garlic and MSM. Healthy Hooves Molasses Free provides a balanced ration when fed at the recommended quantity and includes biotin at the level found in a hoof supplement. MSM, which is a bio-available source of sulphur, is also included as it is a key component of keratin for joint support as well as good hoof, coat and skin condition. Grass is the natural source of sulphur for horses and those on restricted grazing may benefit.

Managing weight and digestive health

We all know that trickle feeding is vital for digestive and behavioural health but in the domestic environment ad-lib forage feeding can often result in obesity. Choosing low calorie fibre sources is key for weight management and keeping the horse chewing.

New Dengie Ulser Lite combines oat straw with dried grasses, grass and alfalfa pellets with a light rapeseed oil coating, ADM Protexin in-feed formula, that combines prebiotic and live yeast, and herbal blend. At 8MJ/kg Digestible Energy Ulser Lite is a low-calorie fibre feed to support digestive health that can also be used to partially or totally replace the forage ration making it an ideal alternative when only more calorific forage like haylage is available.

Straw – a low calorie fibre source

Winter weight loss in good do-ers or overweight horses is a vital step to getting them to or keeping them at a healthy weight long term. In the UK our conserved forages such as hay and haylage can be too calorific when fed ad-lib and straw as a lower calorie fibre can be very useful to mix in the forage ration to keep a horse chewing without the calories. Some people are nervous regarding straw use, but research using straw to replace 50% of the haylage ration found no detrimental effects on digestive health. Furthermore, it helped to slow the overall rate of intake of the total forage ration which in turn lessened insulin response which is good news for those with insulin dysregulation.

Discover more at

Horse Owners Prefer Pets to Partners!

This probably won’t come as much of a surprise to most horse lovers, but recent research has shown that the majority of animal owners have stronger bonds with their pets than their families!

The recent research was carried out by equine charity Brooke and revealed that more than a quarter of animal lovers would rather stay at home with pets than meet up with family and friends, and three in five people prefer to cuddle with their pet rather than their partner!

Brooke is using the survey to raise awareness of the plight of working donkeys, horses and mules in Pakistan following the recent floods. Find out more at:

Closer to home, we have recently launched our Winter Hay Appeal. Please visit our appeal page to find out more.

Happy Valentine’s Day, whether your plans are with your pets or your partners! 😉

Celebrating 40 Years

2023 marks the Sanctuary’s 40th Birthday, which is an absolutely amazing achievement especially given all the setbacks and issues that we have faced over those years. We are proud to have done so much good work and touched, helped and saved so many horses, ponies, donkeys and other animals over the years but we could not have done it without you and your help and support. Thank you so much for all that you do and have done for Remus over the years, and to our staff and volunteers, our vets and suppliers, and the Holistic Team and Physiotherapists who all come together to do the very best that we can for as many needy animals as we can.

“Wherever man has left his footprints in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization, we find the hoofprints of a horse beside it!”

It’s been a busy winter at Remus. You’ll remember that in the summer we had no grass due to the heatwave – the paddocks turned to scrub and dust! Then in October and November it was so mild that the grass just kept growing and growing, so we experienced (and saw) a lot of laminitic cases at a time of year when you would not expect it. Since then, we’ve seen flooding and freezing, and snow, and more flooding. And freezing. Which is why we have just launched our winter hay appeal. Please will you help us?

There are lots of other ways you can help us too: are you able to get one new member signed up; get some of our leaflets out; organise a fundraising event for us; ask your local shop about taking one of our collection tins? The winter is a particularly difficult time for us at the best of times, but in the present economic climate, that of course, becomes much more difficult – so please if you can support Remus in any way it would be such a tremendous help.

Please do get in touch if you can make a donation towards the winter appeal – you can do so online or by calling the office to make a donation over the telephone, or by sending a cheque. It is so rewarding at the end of a working day to walk around the Sanctuary and see all the animals happy, contented and eating, and relaxed, and to know that they are all safe for life and will never have to fear hunger, pain or suffering again. YOUR help makes this possible.

Click to learn more and donate to our Winter Hay Appeal.

The Best Things about Riding in Winter

The nights are dark and it’s cold and damp – but never fear, there are plenty of things to love about being a horse owner in winter!

It may be hard to get yourself up and out when it’s colder and dark, but there’s an upside to making the effort. Winter mornings can be crisp and fresh, so get to the yard and get all the jobs done early and you might be able to squeeze in a ride before you have to be at your desk – it makes a great way to start off the weekend, too.

And daytime/evening rides can be more fun too. Summer riding is lovely, but often you both end up feeling hot and sweaty and bothered by flies. Plan ahead, check the weather and make the most of the good riding conditions ahead.

If you’re a competition rider, there may be fewer events, so make the most of the ones that are happening – and look out for a host of training opportunities including clinics, demos and trainer lessons.

Finally, if you’re finding yourself with more time on your hands, take the opportunity to get to all those jobs that get neglected when you’re busy riding. Tack and feed rooms can benefit from a clearout at this time of year – rope in some friends to make it more fun!

For more benefits of winter riding head to:

If you haven’t already done so, please check out our appeal to help raise funds to replace our perimeter fencing.

By the way, you might like to note that this year we’re celebrating our 40 year anniversary! More on that to follow in due course.

Fencing Appeal

Around 15 years ago, we changed our fencing from wire to post and rail. Unfortunately we are now finding that its come to the end of its life – the posts and rails are starting to deteriorate quite rapidly. This means we need to start a rolling plan of repairs asap – could it have come at a worse time?! We’ll start first with the perimeter fencing to keep the animals secure and with a 40-acre site that’s no mean feat!

As you can imagine, this cost on top of everything else right now is quite crippling.

Will you help us by buying a metre of fencing or by donating towards the cost of the fencing? Each metre of fencing costs in excess of £40 including the timber, labour and concrete.

We would love to hear from you if you can help us reach our goal. You’ll be able to see for yourself the difference you have made.

Please visit our JustGiving Appeal page to find out more>

If you prefer to telephone the Sanctuary to make a donation, you can call us on tel: 01277 356191.

Use or Abuse – the Many Shades of Grey in the Horse World

As a horse sanctuary, our first consideration is for the animal, which is why our regular followers will know, we are not a fan of horse sports and events such as The Grand National.

So we were pleased to see that the theme of the 25th World Horse Welfare Conference in November, was ‘when does use become abuse?’

This year the international spotlight fell on horse welfare at the Tokyo Olympics where a German rider was seen whipping her horse, and the German coach was banned after punching the same animal.

Of course, not all eventers are as extreme or as high-profile, but it is good to see discussions taking place among experts, as the world’s views and the scientific evidence continues to change.

Read more about the debate at this year’s conference here.

If you’ve not already done so, we’d be grateful if you could take a look at our winter appeal to help raise funds to replace our perimeter fencing. Please visit our Just Giving page to find out more >

Today’s the Day to Make a Difference

Giving Tuesday is no longer just around the corner!

This year we are raising funds to repair our perimeter fencing, which has started to deteriorate quite badly.

The fencing was changed from wire to post and rail about 15 years ago. Our priority is to repair or replace the perimeter fencing first, in order to protect and secure the animals.

And we can’t do it without your generosity.

The Giving Tuesday campaign began in America in 2012 as a way to give back after the well-known shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It was brought to the UK by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in 2014 with the aim of encouraging people to think of others in the run-up to Christmas. The campaign is now coordinated in the UK by the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.

It’s become a global phenomenon; #GivingTuesday has broken successive world records for the most money donated online to charity. Leading charities and brands support the day including Natwest Group, PayPal and Salesforce. And, in 2020, #GivingTuesday was the top trending item on UK Twitter and generated more than 360 million impressions. In the UK, more than £20 million was raised in online donations, more than ever before.

Please visit our JustGiving page to learn more and make your donation online >

Alternatively, if you prefer, please call the Sanctuary on 01277 356191 to make your donation over the telephone.

Together we give.

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