Open Season at Remus Horse Sanctuary

Remus Horse Sanctuary is delighted to open its gates and welcome visitors to the Sanctuary for the first time this year on Sunday 7 May 2017.  The Mayor for Brentwood, Noelle Hones, will also be in attendance during the afternoon to express her support for the charity.

Further dates throughout the 2017 season can be found below:

  • Sunday 4 June
  • Sunday 2 July
  • Sunday 6 August
  • Sunday 3 September
  • Sunday 1 October

Open on each of the above dates from 1pm to 5pm, the Sanctuary offers entertainment for the whole family including competitions and games, special guests such as Cinderella or Snow White, music from local band Midnite Blu, delicious refreshments including gluten-free sandwiches and homemade cakes, lots of stalls and a raffle.

Parking is available on-site, with disabled access and dogs are welcome on a lead.  Admission will be charged at just £4 per adult and £2 for children. Members of the Sanctuary will receive a discount upon presentation of their membership card. Visitors to the Open Days will be able to meet horses, Blax and Lady, recently rescued from Kent.

The Sanctuary is currently providing rehabilitation and care for over 200 animals, including horses, ponies, donkeys, cows, goats, sheep and cats.  The Open Days are a vital source of fundraising for the charity which, due to its location on greenbelt land, can only open to the public for a limited number of days each year.

Founder of the Sanctuary, Sue Burton, says, “we love inviting the public to come and visit the Sanctuary and learn more about what we do.  We always have such a great time showing off our facilities and our amazing animals and giving people an insight into the valuable work that we do here.”

For further information, browse the website or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.1

The Worsening Plight of Horse Welfare in the UK

Sue Burton, founder of Remus Horse Sanctuary in Essex, has been spending time meeting with other horse welfare groups and with Brentwood Borough Council and Thurrock Council  to discuss the escalating problems of horse welfare in the area, including pregnant, tethered mares having to give birth on chains.

Sue Burton and her colleagues witnessed the now common-place scenes of horses left in the most appalling conditions. Of the three in the accompanying picture, two could walk off to the dry grassy area beyond, whereas the other was tethered – it has access to hay but no dry area in which to lay. Hundreds of horses literally live in quagmires and their lives are worthless – so many would be better off not being born into it.

Sue said “we probably saw over 100 horses and just looking into their eyes turns my stomach every time, but I can’t just walk away. These horses aren’t designed for this sort of life. Yes they cope with it as we would cope with being in a prison, but these animals should be roaming flight animals with a gregarious nature who can interact and mutually groom their herd members – not spend their life tied by their necks to the ground.”

Sue also reports that some of these same horses were heavily pregnant and giving birth on chains. She ponders if this “can really be acceptable in this day and age when we have the ability to send men to the moon but we can let innocent living creatures suffer like this? There is something very wrong in our society.”

The horse welfare crisis in this country is getting worse and the scenes witnessed are replicated the length and breadth of the country. There can be no excuse for turning a blind eye and allowing this suffering to continue. Horses on tethering chains with no food, no water, no access to the five freedoms and no hope in their sad eyes.

The ‘five needs’ are a fundamental part of The Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the animal owner’s ‘Duty of Care’ in British Law.  The five needs are:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst.
  2. Freedom from discomfort.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
  4. Freedom to express normal behavior.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress.

Sue has asked that people keep a close eye on horses in their area and report any that they are concerned about. That horse owners take responsibility for their horses and ensure they have all they need in this inclement weather. Anyone wishing to help Remus in their work can do so by making a donation to the Sanctuary at Little Farm, Buttsbury, Nr Ingatestone, Essex CM4 9NZ or by telephoning: 01277 356191.

For further information or to participate in the Remus Welfare Watch scheme, browse or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.  Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Winter Feed Appeal can do so via

Farewell To Some Dear Friends

We have lost a few of our much loved animal friends over the summer and it has been extremely sad to see them go.  We are dreading the winter ahead with the bad weather and the financial worries, and are particularly concerned about the welfare situation generally which, whilst it is at an unprecedented high, we have been seeing skinny horses for the last few months, foresee a much bigger problem this year. It’s important that we can act quickly to help them and get food and water to them. We are setting up our Winter Feed Appeal as just feeding them can help keep them alive until the better weather kicks in and they stand a chance of thriving again until the next winter…

Whilst the Sanctuary was set up following the plight of the Rainham Marsh horses, we only took on land because we took in Pickles and his mum Misty and, from having the land, we then got the next horse Caesar and that was the beginning of Remus Sanctuary!

Misty had carried her foal, Pickles, on Rainham Marshes during the terrible floods where many horse got cut off and died in 1983. Sadly she was kicked in the head by another horse and sustained a fractured skull causing massive maxillary swellings She was then tethered at Hacton Lane recreation ground where despite the fractured skull and being tethered she gave birth to little Pickles. We were only contacted by the Council when Pickles starting being a nuisance to passers by on the recreation ground. We were also contacted by a young girl, Catherine Terry, who was concerned about Misty. Catherine remains a member to this day.

We immediately took on both horses and sadly Misty was put to sleep the same day to save her further suffering. We kept Pickles at a livery yard prior to renting somewhere privately to keep him. Pickles was the first horse our founder Sue ever had the care of and he taught her so much! He kicked her and split a muscle in her leg and reared all over her every time she went into his field. Sensibly she would have given up on horses!

Pickles always had the most enormous character and when he was 7 years old he went to a home in Mountnessing with Sue and Neil Tredgett. He had a great life with them and we are so grateful to the Tredgett family for caring for him for over 25 years. Sue said recently that when her husband Neil died Pickles gave her the reason to get up every day. She fought with him through terrible bouts of laminitis and a few years ago he underwent surgery to have his entire penile area removed. Thank you Sue for all the love and care that you gave him. Pickles was a great horse and will always be remembered by so many people and certainly by us at Remus.

Tiny Tim came to us in the early 90s when he was found running down the A12 and taken in by a window making factory who contacted the Police and were devastated when the Police impounded Tim at a slaughter yard where he watched other horses being slaughtered in front of him. Eventually we had to buy him from the Police to secure his safety!

He was in a foster home for many years before coming back to us a few years ago. He was such a sweet little pony and has been a joy to look after.

Just a week ago we had to say goodbye to Bella donkey who had been with us for some years. She was in last stage liver failure. She was a dear little soul and had originally come out of Spindles Farm, so one can only guess at the suffering she will have endured over the years, but she had some lovely final years at Remus and this is what we are about – giving these animals some quality time in their final years.

It is devastating when we lose our beloved animals, they become friends to us all and I know you will be as sad as us when reading the stories above. And sadly, their desperate tales prove the importance of our work and need to continue. Please help us by becoming a member, sponsoring an animal and sharing what we do with your friends and family.


How Can I Help?

Our team of volunteers are vital to the work of Remus Horse Sanctuary. They help to raise money, care for animals, welcome visitors, highlight our work and even help maintain the premises. Our volunteers go the extra mile and ensure that all of our animals, large or small, live a long and loving life with nothing asked of them.

If you would like to support the Sanctuary by volunteering, please complete an Application Form and send it to the Sanctuary or contact the office to discuss volunteering on tel: 01277 356191.

​Here are just some of the things you can do to help us:

Fundraisers wanted to organise events, street collections and raffle ticket sales.

Event Volunteers are essential to ensure our events run smoothly throughout the year. Can you help us to promote the event through leafleting and distributing posters? Perhaps you could help out at our Open Days and other events, run specific projects, sort bric-a-brac, maintain merchandise stocks and pricing. (You can also visit our Fundraising page to find out how you could organise your own event.)

Volunteer Coordinator needed to help develop and oversee our volunteer programme including recruitment, selection, training, allocation of duties, setting up of and maintaining a social calendar.

PA or Secretary wanted to assist in busy office, managing diary, note taking, handling paperwork to a high standard. We also need people to help stuff envelopes at least twice a year.

Enrichment Volunteers wanted to help provide enrichment to the animals including socialisation, toys, games and observation.

Gardener wanted to care for the Sanctuary garden, such as mowing the lawn, keeping the troughs planted and watered.

Conservation Officer to oversee the upkeep of the Sanctuary conservation areas including the hedgerow, ponds, maintaining wildlife area, keeping a list of birds and wildlife seen and erection of bat boxes. Many BTO red and endangered birds have been seen on site.

Graphic Designer to assist with posters for our events, online graphics and the occasional leaflet. Will be fully briefed by our Marketing Expert and should be able to work remotely.

IT or Computer Expert wanted to maintain office computers and laptops ensuring backing-up and maintenance.

Photographer to take good quality images suitable for advertising, PR and print work, and website. To document what happens at the Sanctuary, how the animals progress and equally the cute and cuddly shots to help with our fundraising. Video would be a bonus!

Drivers wanted to collect and drop off items in the local area.

Maintenance Person to help oversee the upkeep of fixtures and fittings with some bigger projects, such as concreting. Additionally, people required to help clean and paint the stables and buildings before winter.

Groundsman wanted to help oversee the land ensuring weed control and fencing kept in good repair.

Please note that due to the demand from youngsters to help at the Sanctuary we have a very long waiting list and it can be quite a lengthy process to get children onto the Young Volunteer Scheme.

Animal Update

At last Spring is round the corner! The very wet winter and some very cold nights have made life very difficult for us and the animals here at the Sanctuary especially with all the rain we have had, making the ground saturated, although of course the animals are still kept warm and dry and are looking forward to the Summer!

At the end of last year we had another colt left at our gate who was full of lice and worms and had been dragged from his mother so you can imagine how scared he was.  He was in isolation at first so he could be treated and checked over by the vet.  We put a mirror in his stable so that he would not feel lonely and it was so sad to see him looking at himself wondering where he was.  Thankfully he is gaining in confidence and we have called him Charlie 2; he’s out in the paddock now having fun with with his new friend Dante.

We also took in four riding school horses recently as the school had collapsed financially. There was a total of 12 horses that we found homes for and they are now all settled. Our sponsored animals are all doing very well and we are so grateful to everyone who sponsors our animals and directly help make a difference to the lives of these animals. If you sponsor an animal that is not on this list, please do drop us a line or give us a call for an update.

APOLLO had had a good winter and still likes to check on all the others.  A bit of a ‘mother’ figure, she enjoys being in the barn at night with her friends Guinness and Clyde.

BERT GOAT our vets diagnosed his bad skin condition as a skin complaint prone to pygmy goats, but with the Aloe Vera we applied last Summer he seems to have improved a lot and is happy out with his friends.

BLOSSOM & AMBER gaze around watching all the goings-on.  They still enjoy their peaceful life with plenty of sweet smelling hay and different vegetable treats!

BRACKEN is now a beautiful mare, grown from such a little skinny little foal who was quite ill at the beginning and now a strong and healthy horse who enjoys her days out with Jess (who does enjoy bossing her about!).

CHARLIE is still the smallest bossy pony in the field!  Even the big horses are a bit mindful of him and although one of the oldest, is quite fit and often you see him trotting around chasing the others.

CHARLIE 2 is was the little colt torn from his mother who arrived at our gate thin and full of lice and worms but has really improved recently and is enjoying life out with Dante. They both had similar starts in life and now are happy as can be!

COCO & WILLIAM had a good winter too, enjoying life with the other donkeys although Harvey is still in charge – they don’t seem to mind though as they all snuggle up together at night in thick beds of straw and lots of hay to eat!

DAVEY had a serious operation but he is doing really well and is fit and happy and enjoying being with Harvey, William and Coco out in the fields when the weather is not too cold for them.

DANTE What a character he has become!  Having been left at our gate, close to death, he was brought back to health with continued attention from staff and helpers to give him confidence and is now a lovely looking, spirited little pony.

DYLAN is ‘one of the gang’ now and its hard to tell him apart from the other sheep, but he is soon at the gate at dinner time so that’s when we know it’s him!

FOUR SHETLANDS (and Marmite) have all been healthy during the winter, except Oscar who had a little bout of colic, but he is now eating well and enjoying the company of all the others.  They all have their cosy little rugs on and have regular teeth checks, and feet trimming just like all the other horses at the Sanctuary.

GUINNESS  you may remember that Orchid, the oldest horse in the country and who we lost last year at the age of 52 years, was her best friend and although at first she missed her, she has now become friends with Mallie and they spend their days together.

GRACE has come on really well, has gained in confidence with everyone around her and although she is blind, she is well aware of her surroundings especially now that she and Holly have their own little paddock where they can spend their days grazing until Bracken and Jess return from their play.

HARVEY is still the donkey in charge of the others and is very healthy and happy living with the other donkeys who all seem to love him.

HOLLY had a good winter, gaining in confidence just like Grace.  They are great friends and spend the day together while Jess and Bracken go out to play.  She is very healthy, apart from being blind of course, but looks really well and no doubt looking forward to warmer weather when at last they can feel the sun on their backs!

HOVIS had a good healthy winter and is still in charge of Wesley and Spencer but they all get on really well and snuggle down together each night with lots of hay and delicious dinners.

JESS is still as mischievous as ever especially knowing she is the only mule in the Sanctuary!  She and Bracken spend the days in the field running and bucking and annoying lots of the other horses but then come in at night to their mothers for a lovely dinner and deep beds of straw where they sleep getting their energy to cause more mischief the next day!

LACEY is getting older now, so she stays in a small paddock during the day where she cannot wander too far.  Last year she gashed her face badly and needed stitches and antibiotics but thankfully, with great care and attention from the staff and helpers, she recovered very well.  For an elderly pony she continues to eat well and generally enjoy life!

MARCUS had a good winter with his friends and still enjoys a gallop round the field especially on chilly mornings when he runs and bucks to keep warm!

MINSTRAL has pink skin pigments around her eyes and nose and still has sun cream applied even in Winter on sunny days.  She is still very well, and has a beautifully shiny coat which shows what good condition she is in.

PIPPA had the eye operation which thankfully was successful and she continues to be out in the fields with all the other horses.  It is so nice to see how that operation gave this horse a new life.  She is full of confidence and healthy in all respects.

PIPPIN & IVY have had a lovely winter together with all the other goats and have lovely thick beds of straw and lots of hay and delicious dinners when they come in at night.  They have some new play equipment in their outside pen which they love and have lots of fun climbing over it and sheltering under it when it rains.

PEPPER is still settled in the lovely warm office during the day and far too cold to go hunting at night!  So she stays where there is plenty of food, lots of cuddles from staff and helpers, so why bother going out…

ROWAN had a good winter with Willow, both in lovely warm rugs during the day then in at night to warm cosy stables, plenty of hay and delicious dinners.

SPARKY with the special shoes and veterinary care, the laminitis he suffers from has been managed well and he is enjoying life without too much pain.  You can always hear him whinny when someone comes by as he loves the attention from everyone!

STIX is still the cheeky little boy who likes to torment the others then run away which starts a stampede, but this is what he likes to do!

THOMAS was a bit poorly last winter, this winter he has been quite well, he is a good weight and enjoys the company of all the other horses especially his girlfriend Dolly!

TONY GOAT arrived with an awful torn mouth but after the infection was treated and cleared up, had a good winter enjoying the days with all the other goats – he had to be kept separate for some time because of his injury.

TOSCA  had a good winter and enjoyed being out in the paddock. Although he is getting on in years and his sight is deteriorating, you will see him at dinner time running up and down the fence waiting to come in.

WESLEY & SPENCER live in a stable in the barn with Hovis and you will often see them enjoying the warmth of the solarium.  They are out in the day but enjoy coming in at night to their sweet smelling hay and delicious dinners.

WILLOW lives out with her Mum and has lots of fun with the other horses.  We think she loves Qinter because that means there is lots of lovely mud to roll in while her mother watches her having fun!

Once again, thank you for all your help and support. We  look forward to seeing you at our Open Days starting in May when our sponsored animals will be looking forward to meeting you all again!





Royal Visit for Remus Horse Sanctuary

HM Lord Lieutenant for Essex, Lord Petre (Patron) and Dena Schwartz, Zoopharmacognosist, trustees and staff of Remus Horse Sanctuary, were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex and many local dignitaries to the Sanctuary on Wednesday 14 October for a VIP Invitation Day.

The Countess, who joined the charity as a Patron in 2013, visited the Sanctuary for a tour of the facilities, and to learn more about horse rescue and Remus’ contribution to the local community and economy.  Seventy other local dignitaries, including: Mr Vincent Thompson (High Sheriff of Essex) and Mrs Diana Thompson, Councillor Norman Hume (Chairman of Essex County Council) and Mrs Veronica Hume, Councillor Paul Hitchinson (Mayor of Chelmsford City Council) and Mr Ali Nurad, Chief Constable, Police Crime Commissioner, local Councillors and Members of Parliament also enjoyed the tour, presentations and lunch which took place in a marquee at the Sanctuary.

On behalf of the Sanctuary, 11 year-old Katie Tosko, a local young volunteer, presented The Countess with a posy of flowers, kindly donated by Billericay florist – Always Flowers.

The day was organised by Sue Burton, Founder of the charity in 1983, to raise awareness not only of the work and money that goes into caring for 200+ animals and maintaining the premises that house them, but just as importantly Remus’ work in the community and its contribution to the local economy.  Sadly Sue was not able to attend the event, as she had been admitted to hospital on Tuesday evening.

2015 has been an extremely tough year for Remus, who has noticed an immense decline in donations as people continue to be very careful with their money. The effect on the Charity has been considerable which, in turn, has a huge impact on the Sanctuary and its work. Furthermore, this comes at a time when the horse welfare crisis is escalating in this country and therefore putting extra pressure on Remus’ already depleted funds.

The Sanctuary continues to make every effort to reduce expenditure where possible and increase its income.  The charity employs 15 members of staff providing jobs within the local community and is supported by a further 30 volunteers ranging from 11 – 83 years of age!  Additionally, they make a significant contribution to the local economy; in 2014 their bill for hay and straw was £85,000, vets bill £55,000 and for the farrier £12,000.  One of their suppliers recently told them that if Remus ‘go under, so will he!’ which clearly shows the impact it has on local business. Naturally, Remus want to avoid this but need ongoing support to do so, to allow and encourage more people through their gates annually – it is currently limited in its fundraising efforts due to the green belt restrictions, parking and access.

Whilst much of Remus’ work is done on site at the Sanctuary, the staff work actively within the community to enhance the lives of others; visiting Care Homes for the elderly to improve their lives, and to schools to educate youngsters and show them how to respect and care for animals, an important aspect of improving animal welfare for the future.  Remus is also an accredited organisation offering work placements to young people and a Duke of Edinburgh Award training venue.  The staff give talks to various groups, clubs and schools and organise tours for deaf, blind and disabled groups.  The staff and volunteers organise a variety of complementary therapy workshops throughout the year to educate and inform, on elderly horse care, animal behaviour, and various holistic therapies.

Sue Burton, Founder, said, “We are absolutely delighted with the response, I’m just so sorry I couldn’t be there.  I hear The Countess of Wessex was absolutely delightful as always, we really appreciate her support and genuine interest in what we do and the escalating horse welfare crisis in this country.  We also need people to understand the important work we do within the Essex community and our contribution to the local business economy. Although our raison d’etre, often people do not see beyond the animals.”  Sue went on to explain, “Unless we see greater support locally from the ‘powers that be’ there is little hope for a future at Remus. Hopefully today has gone someway to educating the political and business community”.


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