The dreaded ‘L’ word

It’s a word that can strike fear in every horse owner – laminitis. We’ve enjoyed a lovely spring and early summer so far, but this seemingly constant threat to our horses’ and ponies’ health can be stressful. Many of us are in tune to the slightest niggle, off colour expression or uncharacteristic behaviour, but laminitis can manifest itself in many different ways, so it’s important that we arm ourselves with as much information and knowledge as possible!

We have experienced our fair share of laminitis cases here at Remus, but in the last few years we’ve successfully put steps in place to prevent and/or manage the condition for our residents. We have: big shavings paddocks as an alternative to them being at grass if required; a ‘no sugar’ policy on the yard; our own weighbridge to keep on top of their weight; and holistic care including aromatherapy, reiki and shiatsu to reduce stress (which can also be a trigger) and help our residents cope with any problems they have.

Every horse and pony’s needs will be different, but there are lots of resources online to help you out. This article from Horse & Rider is a great starting point: or why not refer to our own 4 page feature in Horse Magazine here.

Rescued Foal Joins 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 3 June 2018. Visitors will also be able to meet the latest little rescued foal – Jake.

Open from 1pm to 5pm, the Sanctuary offers entertainment for the whole family including competitions and games, bouncy castles and live performances from children’s entertainer Magic Dave, music from 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.

The Open Day poster is available to download and share here.

Visitors to the Open Days will be able to meet Jake, the newest rescue at the Sanctuary [Pictured]. He was dumped behind Buttsbury Church in Essex on a Sunday evening in March and was roaming loose for some days with no fencing between him and the busy road and the swollen river.

Sue Burton, Founder of the Sanctuary said, “Jake is only a baby and when he arrived he was terrified! He is still skinny and was crawling with lice and infested with worms but such a sweetie. Because he is so feral, as are so many who are dumped now – more of the foals born to die – and indeed three died on Essex roads in March alone, it meant bringing in some veterinary experts to travel and dart him early one morning.”

We are so pleased that we were able to save him before he became another statistic. He had a very frightening few days before arrival, so we left him in a warm stable with food and water and deep bed to settle down and relax. He has now paired up with Heidi, one of the foals we rescued last summer, who at two months old was found tethered with her two baby friends, one of which was so poorly he died. They are both getting on well and it’s so nice to see them both relaxing and playing in the fields together.”

Donations for the foal can be made via a number of ways and details can be found on the website at:

Further dates throughout the 2018 season can be found below:

  • Sunday 1 July
  • Sunday 5 August
  • Sunday 2 September
  • Sunday 7 October

The Sanctuary also host Afternoon Teas and Children’s Pony Days, the details for which can be found on the website:

The Sanctuary provides rehabilitation and care for around 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.

Sue 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.”

For further information, visit or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.

Saying Goodbye to your Equine Friend

It’s never easy saying goodbye to our equine friends, however long they’ve been a part of our lives. We specialise in the care of veteran horses and ponies, and give them every chance to thrive into old age. Our animals are never euthanised for reasons of age or infirmity alone, but when we lose residents, such as Buttons at 54 and Shayne at 52, it’s still an incredibly hard time for the whole team, despite knowing they got to live out their twilight years in comfort.

Human feelings apart, what about the other horses left behind when your beloved equine passes away? Our horses spend everyday out in the paddocks enjoying each other’s company, as indeed every horse should, so a sense of loss is inevitable. There’s currently not enough research for us to be certain about how horses understand the concept of death, but there are things we can do to soothe the situation for them. This article from Horse & Hound has some great advice if you’re going through this hard time.

Statement from Leading Horse Charity on UK Welfare Crisis

Following the recent television coverage of the horse welfare crisis in this country, Sue Burton, Founder of Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex, has made the following statement:

“The crisis in this country continues to deepen and Remus remains concerned re the apathy and red tape that seems to get in the way of helping them. There needs to be new updated legislation that is enforceable for all sectors of the community.

“Horses are suffering dying and being thrown out to take their chances on the busy roads. Last month two youngsters were loose in Aveley. One was killed and two were killed in Tilbury and we rescued a foal recently at a cost of over £1000 to the Sanctuary for specialist vets with tranquilliser dart equipment.

“The Government need to see horse welfare as a bigger priority and make laws adequate and enforceable and must debate tethering of horses. It seems awful that in a world where we can send men to the moon that we can allow gregarious sentient flight animals to be chained by their necks to the ground.”

Sadly, the horse charity is unable to open its gates to the public for the planned Open Day in May as the ground underfoot is still too unstable for people to drive and walk on. The first Open Day of the season, therefore, will be Sunday 3 June.

The newest rescue at the Sanctuary [Pictured top left] is Jake. He was dumped behind Buttsbury Church in Essex on a Sunday evening in March and was roaming loose for some days with no fencing between him and the busy road and the swollen river.

Sue Burton said, “He is only a baby and when he arrived he was terrified! He was skinny and crawling with lice and infested with worms but such a sweetie. Because he is so feral, as are so many who are dumped now – more of the foals born to die, and indeed three have died on Essex roads in the last month, it meant bringing in some experts to travel and dart him early one morning.

“We are so pleased that we were able to save him before he became another statistic. He had a very frightening few days before and on arrival, so we left him in a warm stable with food and water and a deep bed to settle down and relax.”

Another resident at the Sanctuary requiring special attention current is Sparkey, a 10-year-old Welsh pony that arrived in 2014 with terrible laminitis. He has recently undergone a serious operation to address problems with his mouth, teeth and nostrils, with both Diastema and Periodontal Disease.

Since the surgery, Sparkey is doing very well – he is having his sinuses flushed every day and is now on oral antibiotics with the vet visiting daily to check his dental plug is still in position. He is happy and enjoying himself out in the paddock and the vets are very pleased with his progress.

Says Sue, “We spent £2000 on Sparkey before the operation and subsequently a further £3000, including aftercare, but we have such a happy pony who should be able to enjoy the rest of his life now.

“We were hoping to introduce Jake and help raise sponsorship for Sparkey at our first Open Day in May. It’s a crying shame that we’ve had to cancel it until June.”

Donations for the rescued foal and Sparkey can be made via a number of ways and details can be found on the website.

For further information, visit or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.

Time to Turn Out

What a long, hard winter it has been. Even over Easter it was miserable and, although every one of our horses here at Remus gets the very best individual care and attention, you can tell even they were starting to wonder who had stolen the sunshine! Wet, muddy paddocks have been an issue for all and such testing conditions can throw up all sorts of unwanted ailments from mud fever to respiratory problems if turnout has been limited.

Here at Remus we’re lucky enough to have large shavings paddocks for our horses to enjoy. They’re perfect for the wetter weather and essential to keep our older residents moving to prevent stiffness. Whatever your facilities, the decision to leave horses out or bring them in is rarely without compromise. This recent article from Horse & Hound sums up nicely the pros and cons from veterinary and welfare professionals, as well as owners.

Pony Days Return to Remus Horse Sanctuary

Remus Horse Sanctuary’s much-loved Pony Days for children will be returning during the school holiday periods in 2018 as follows:

  • Wednesday 11 April
  • Wednesday 30 May
  • Wednesday 1 August
  • Wednesday 15 August
  • Wednesday 29 August
  • Wednesday 24 October

Remus Pony Days are a fun and educational day for a child, they will learn how to care for a pony and the responsibilities that come with it.

Priced at just £45 per child and taking place only on selected dates, the Pony Days are suitable for boys and girls aged 10 years and over and will take place from 11am until approximately 4pm.

Places are limited to just six children per date and bookings can be made online via the website at or by contacting the Sanctuary on tel: 01277 356191. Children will need to bring a packed lunch and refreshments for the day.

For anyone thinking of getting a pony or horse for their child or for those who just love being around horses, this is the perfect day.

Each day, children attending will be ‘loaned’ a pony, to make up its feed, be taught how to groom and turn it out into the field, shown how to clean out the pony’s stable and make a nice new bed for him or her to come back into later.  There’ll also be lots of tips, information and fun throughout the day.

Events and fundraising play a vital part in raising much-needed funds to keep the Sanctuary open and Sue Burton, Founder, says, “We’re always delighted to welcome children and horse lovers to the Sanctuary for our Pony Days.  The work we do here is vital and our Pony Days are both great fun and a great way of educating children on animal welfare”.

For further information, visit or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.



Health Problems: a third of horses in UK affected

We all know that keeping horses can be a costly pastime, and the results from a recent study show that owners should do everything they can to ensure their animals stay in good health.

According to the 2017 National Equine Health Survey (NEHS) more than a third of horses have experienced at least one health problem over the past year.

The most common issues are skin conditions and lameness. More than a quarter of the horses with back problems have exhibited signs of lameness, and the most common skin issues are sweet itch and mud fever.

As always, prevention is better than cure, and Remus Horse Sanctuary suggests that owners can stay on top of health problems by ensuring their animals have a horse health MOT with a vet at least annually and that vaccinations are kept up to date.

Look our for our workshops in 2018!

More useful tips for keeping your horse healthy, along with more results from the survey can be found at

Horse Charity Needs Your Help on #GivingTuesday

Remus Horse Sanctuary is asking animal lovers everywhere to help with a little fundraising on Tuesday 28 November – #GivingTuesday – a date which is all about supporting and celebrating Britain’s charities.

We are looking for people who could help with street collecting in either Brentwood or Ingatestone on Tuesday 28 November for an hour or so for #GivingTuesday. Anyone interested should contact directly.

“We promote lots of ideas on our Facebook page”, says Sue Burton, Founder of the Sanctuary, “we’re encouraging people to organise their own fundraising events – as well as helping us with street collections – such as:  a ‘dress down day’ or a sponsored colouring competition at school and a bake sale or sponsored ‘walk to work’ day for companies. Other people are organising a sponsored knit which sounds great fun!”

There are currently over 7,000 horses at risk in this country and the welfare crisis continues to escalate year on year with little or no progress. Without the Sanctuary’s help, many animals will die a slow, painful and unnecessary death. Sue says, “We know that we can save horses’ lives this winter by getting food and water out to them quickly, but we need the public’s support to help us, to help them!”

#GivingTuesday coincides with the Charity’s new winter feed appeal for 2017 to help raise £2,500 to feed not only the veterans and permanent residents at the Sanctuary, but those neglected, unloved and abandoned animals that are either tethered by their necks on waste ground or just left wandering and unwanted with no food, no water and no shelter.

The news regularly features victims of physical and mental abuse and the Charity continue to receive calls daily. Keeping an animal fed over winter will give it a chance to thrive into Spring and forage also helps a horse keep warm.

Additionally donations can be made to the Sanctuary via the JustGiving appeal page online at:, via the Charity website at: or by texting FEED36 £10 to 70070 to donate to Remus with JustTextGiving*.

Visitors to the Charity’s online shop at: can also buy a bale of hay, bag of animal food, straw bedding and plenty more. A week’s supply of food and hay for a tethered horse will help improve their life and wellbeing for just £25 and help get them through the winter months.

Sue Burton, Founder, says: “We experienced a break-in at the Sanctuary earlier this month and we hate asking for yet more help. But it’s a fact that without the public’s support, hundreds of horses will die this winter. Every donation, no matter how large or small will be of huge benefit to those starving animals that no-one cares for.

“I’m really hoping that #GivingTuesday will give our campaign a real boost.”

For further information, visit or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.

*Text donations can only be for £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10. However, a donor can donate up to three times per day. £10 is the maximum donation amount for all mobile operators.

Rain, rain go away…keeping horses safe in wet weather

Disappointingly, August was a bit of a washout weather-wise, so lets hope we see an improvement for September!  Whatever the Autumn brings, while we may be tucked away indoors in the dry, horses are out in all weathers. Remus Horse Sanctuary is committed to rescuing horses that are neglected and left out in the elements with no protection or care.

Of course caring horse owners will ensure their animals are protected from the weather as much as possible, but while the heavens continue to open, it’s a good time to remind yourself of some of the steps you can take to look after your horse, yourself and your riding gear during periods of wet weather.

The Blue Cross has some great suggestions, including using pig oil to stop mud sticking to horses’ legs, and giving them boredom busters if they have to stay in their stables.

Click here to read the full article.

The Countess of Wessex Informed of Escalating Cruelty to Horses in the UK

On Thursday 29 June, Sue Burton, the Founder of Remus Horse Sanctuary, along with the Mayor and Mayoress of Chelmsford and the Mayor of Brentwood, welcomed Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex to highlight the equine welfare crisis in this country.

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 issues such as: tethering, cruelty and neglect, indiscriminate breeding and abandonment, and elderly horses – all of which continue to escalate around the UK.

The Countess met staff, volunteers and guests and many animals including those that have been victims of all of the above types of cruelty including Dante, two blind mares Hollie and Grace, and Blax – the charity’s most recent rescue.

The Countess was also shown before and after videos of Blax’ recovery and the amazing difference in her wellbeing since arriving at the Sanctuary four months ago.

Hundreds of horses are suffering every day and many are suffering despite the Authorities being aware of them. In one week alone at the end of June, the Sanctuary heard of three young colts abandoned in different areas nearby, and that’s without the many they don’t get to hear about.

Sue Burton said, “It was a delight to have The Countess here and to show her first hand some of the issues that we are facing amidst the country’s largest ever equine welfare crisis and what we are doing to help the many horses caught up in this crisis.

“Without question action needs to be taken to help these animals, it seems so wrong that we can send a rocket to the moon but we still allow horses to be chained to the ground by the neck for their entire life with many being covered by the stallion, giving birth and dying on that same chain.

“There has to come a time when we say enough is enough and surely now is that time. Remus aims to take an active role in helping to make that happen.”

For further information, visit or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.

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