Updated: Nov 3
As the beauty of autumn surrounds us, we thought we'd tell you what has been happening with our herds here at Springwood.
Firstly, we are excited to let you know that we have renamed our two herds. This seemed to make sense now that the herd from Sussex is so much part of the sanctuary, alongside our original herd.
In honour of Missy, who started the whole sanctuary off with her need for a herd around her, and in memory of Tor and Cal who are all still very much a part of the energy of Springwood, we decided on The Mystical Herd as the new name for the original herd. We hope you like it!
As for the newer herd, the new name was inspired by herd member Archie, who ran wild as a stallion for the first 10 years of his life. His wild skills, such as digging up thistle plants and eating their roots, continue to influence the herd he belongs to and so we decided on The Wild Herd - again, we hope you like it.
We have five new herd members who have joined us since the summer. Life on the sanctuary has been busy while we warmly welcome the new herd members and ensure they and the existing herds have plenty of time, choice and freedom in how they integrate into their new formations and relationships.
Polly joined us from Chester at the beginning of September and was warmly welcomed into the Mystical Herd. It was so moving to see how the herd adapted, embraced change, and welcomed Polly into their bonded herd. Especially Kati, who can find change so challenging.
It has been wonderful to see how they have all shifted and grown through this experience, and how beautifully Polly has found her place in her new herd.
Towards the end of September, we warmly welcomed Phoebe. We gave her time to settle in, relax and recover from her long journey from Kent, and she gently met the Mystical herd over the fence.
The following morning, she bravely chose to go up the hill and meet the mystical herd members - her new herd family. It was wonderful to observe how brave, sensitive and confident Phoebe is, and to be reminded how incredible horses are at showing their subtle signs of reassurance, discomfort etc when left to their own devices in an unstressed and spacious environment.
Phoebe has bonded with Star in particular and has settled in beautifully here at Springwood.
The beginning of October saw us welcoming Champ and Nemo. They had a good journey from Epsom in Surrey and settled in straight away. Initially, they found their feet on "the road less travelled" track, where they were able to gradually connect over the fence with the Wild Herd in Middle Oaks.
Nemo and Champ are already well settled into their new herd, as are the existing Wild Herd members. It has been wonderful to see new friendships striking up as everyone finds their place and takes up the opportunities to shift dynamics and explore the benefits of change. As with all the herd changes, we continue to watch and learn, making sure that they all have all the time and choice that they need.
Later in October, we saw the arrival of Skye from Oxford. We are delighted to offer Skye a peaceful retirement at Springwood, her new forever home. She arrived in a beautifully calm and peaceful way, and was quick to gently introduce herself to the Wild Herd over the fence. Since then, Skye has settled in so well and has bonded closely with Remy. Remy is usually very hesitant and unconfident and it has been wonderful to see how being with Skye has really given him such confidence and boldness.
October also saw a herd move for Wild Herd member Star. Star had already been spending time over the fence with Kati in the Mystical Herd, and once Phoebe joined the Mystical Herd she was also keen to spend time with her too. We listened to what she was telling us and offered her the choice of where she wanted to be. Star chose to make her move and is very happy with the smaller ponies and donkeys in her new gang.
We have been carefully monitoring both herds to be sure that everyone is peaceful and content, and they all seem pleased with the new arrangement. Of course, they can all
see each other whenever they want to and reach each other over various fencelines. We're so glad that we are able to offer the herds freedom to make their own choices.
We are creating a page on the website dedicated to The Rainbow Herd - those incredibly huge hearted and beautiful souls who we have had the honour and privilege of sharing our lives with and whom we have loved wholeheartedly. Their physical presence is missed so greatly, but their souls, spirits, hearts and energy is felt around the herd always. We have recently had to say goodbye to two very special horses who enjoyed the freedom and enrichment of Springwood, lived peacefully here and are so greatly loved by their herd mates and us all.
RIP beautiful Cal. We were so very sad and heartbroken to say goodbye to our huge-hearted, brave and beautiful horse Cal from the Mystical Herd on 25th July. It was extremely peaceful for him, and the herd all said their goodbyes in a really heartfelt, incredible way - it was so clear that they all knew before us that he was leaving.
I am so honoured to have been his guardian. We rescued him and Rhia 3 years ago from being put to sleep as completely healthy horses - he's had 3 wonderful years of good health, good friends, freedom of choice and enrichment here with us where he was truly listened to and adored. We all miss him so much.
Fly free sweet darling Cal. I love you always.
RIP beautiful Zanzi. We were so very sad and shocked to have to say goodbye to gorgeous Zanzi from the Wild Herd on 14th October. We gently laid his magnificent body to rest on the hillside, covered in hawthorn berries and flower petals, surrounded by stones from the land and watched over by the others in their loving, protective way. We are so honoured to have met Zanzi and to have spent these last three months with him. We dearly wish it could have been so much longer, but for Zanzi it was the perfect time, called to cross back to the light in complete peace, surrounded by his loving herd family watching over him.
Both herds have felt Zanzi's loss and have said goodbye so gently and respectfully, acknowledging his passing as something that was inevitable even though to us it is still such a shock that we are still processing. Rest in peace beautiful Zanzibar. You were loved by all of us, and by the humans in your life before you came to Springwood.
Thank you to you all who have shared your hearts with these beautiful horses. Their memory, the love we share and their light will live on forever.