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May 2021 - Springwood Newsletter - converted to blog post

First of all WELCOME BACK!! I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to write an update. My lovely daughter Charlotte was helping me with newsletters, social media and crowdfunding before we moved and then she went and got herself a very demanding job that took all her time with sadly none to spare for the herd. We miss her! As I'm sure you do too! I'm typing this without even the faintest idea whether it'll arrive in your inbox! Lots of exclamation marks and lots of hope for this technophobe ... give me a pair of wellies and a herd of horses any day! :D


Well.... phewwwww.... it's been one crazy rollercoaster

of a six months since we arrived in Wales. The great news is that the herd are very well - in fact they are positively THRIVING in their beautiful new home. There is fresh spring water feeding their water troughs, hillsides full of wild medicinal plants to browse in their grazing with pure white quartz crystal and Welsh slate under the ground, surrounded by an abundance of native hedging and trees for natural shade and shelter. And then they have various tracks down to their yard with barns, shelters and open shelters, ad lib organic meadow hay, fresh water, apple cider vinegar water, dried herbs and minerals to self select and several flatter sheltered meadows to get their good healing r.e.m. sleep and snoozes so important for their wellbeing. With us being on hand for any massages, scratches, mindful space holding, healing and any other TLC they need, they are in heaven on earth - which has been my aim from the outset! When we say a sad goodbye to our beloved animal family we envisage them galloping or gamboling over the rainbow bridge into a meadow of wild flowers and all the freedom they want... why wait til then when we can give them that with us here? That is what every living creature deserves - it is their birthright and ours too. It is my biggest wish to make this possible for as many humans and non human animals as possible.

44 HOOVES...

We have been incredibly blessed with Mark Gent - our caring hoof trimmer & advanced equine podiatrist extraordinaire! - who has been making the journey to us every month to do the necessary hoof trimming and any remedial work needed. We are so incredibly grateful as this has made our transition here so much easier. Especially so because our newest girl Rhia has taken a while to let go of the fear and panic she experienced so traumatically with previous hoof trimmers / farriers. She is doing amazingly with this and loves hanging out with Mark when he comes ... as do the donkeys, who have also taken their time to trust fully. All of the herd have had trauma to release around their hooves being trimmed in the past, so I am more than grateful that we can continue to work with Mark who has built such a lovely trusting relationship with them all.


Even though I had been warned this could be a difficult thing, especially for our elderly thoroughbred ex-racehorses, I will go so far as to say this has been the herd's BEST WINTER EVER! There is a lovely micro-climate here protecting us from the worst of the extreme weather in the valley. Although we border the River Teifi for about 2 miles on our southern boundary and it bursts its banks spectacularly, it hasn't encroached on the herd's areas or the houses thank goodness! So we've been able to enjoy the wild weather and the raging white water, safe in the knowledge that all is well here. Of course we've had - and are still having - our fair share of gale force winds and torrential rain, but the herd have had plenty of hard standing, mud control tracks and places to shelter if they choose to do so.


OH BOY!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU ALL !!!! for all the phenomenal support you gave us with fundraising last year. The majority of your incredibly generous donations were invested into MudControl slabs which have created a network of tracks, yards and shelter bases for the herd. It has made SO much difference to them as they no longer have to slosh through mud during the winter. The ground loves them too... the grass is growing through them and is fully protected from the wear and tear of 44 hooves! Yup, you're probably bored of me waxing lyrical about this invention but they really are my favourite thing that I wouldn't want to do without... in addition to the above, they are made from 100% recycled domestic plastic waste (yay!!!!) and are completely moveable if we need to do so. We've already changed a couple of tracks to other gateways... thank you so much to everyone who helped with this!


On that subject, our move from Sussex went on and on and on way past our arriving here... as we wanted to leave the stables and MudControl yard there til the herd had moved so that they could use it right up to the last minute. Being November, they needed the protection this offered. I am again SOOO incredibly grateful to our truly wonderful friends who were such incredible help with this. Ray, Sharon, Dave, John, Darrell and Phil ... you guys went above and beyond ... you are absolute angels and I love you all! I cannot tell you how much hard work this was for these guys ... dismantling the stables and lifting the heavy grids that were full of mud, carrying them all a hundred yards to the gateway to be transported here ... and I wasn't even able to be there to help myself. Thank you again to Ray who helped load them all up and to Phil and Morgan who transported them safely to us over several trips. I am forever indebted to you all.


When we arrived there were two beautiful grey chickens here - very institutionalised sadly and not wanting to come out of their small run. With daily TLC from David and additional support with the right nutrition they are now excitedly flying out of their coop first thing in the morning and investigating the land thoroughly. It's really such a joy to see them having fun and loving life.


Other blessings here already have come in the form of wildlife here... a daily gathering of song birds on the bird feeders outside the kitchen window, squirrels with their own supply of nuts, red kites and buzzards, foxes, rabbits and badgers living on the two acre gorsey hillside nature reserve - at present also full of bluebells. We also have otters, kingfishers, salmon and trout living in and alongside the river... none of which we have seen yet but I will literally burst with excitement when I see my first otter - they apparently bring their young to play in the wild flower meadows by the river banks here!!


Sadly there's been lots of it since moving here. Heartbreakingly we lost our darling Ollie on 22nd November, just 11 days after moving here. My heart still is in pieces and I miss him terribly. Tears are flowing as I write this and it still feels as raw. For him it was a very peaceful passing over, and he was blessed to go in his sleep, snuggled on my bed next to me. Really we couldn't ask for more when it's our time. It just felt much too soon as he was only nine years old, which for a little one isn't old, but with his liver damage thankfully it didn't escalate into a painful ending. We have created a memorial garden for him and our other animal family that passed before him, and his physical body is laid to rest there.

Hauling myself through this grief and the ensuing winter here, settling into a new home, not being able to be around in Sussex to care for my Mum when she needed 24/7 care and went into a nursing home and not being able to visit due to lockdown restrictions either was all extremely difficult over the next couple of months. Then very early in the morning on 3rd February I received the call I was dreading - that she too had slipped away in her sleep. Again peacefully, and again I am grateful for that. Immense gratitude to David, Jax and Juliette who looked after the herd for me so wonderfully whilst I was in Sussex. Thank you so much to Maria for being here to care for the herd and the chickens so that we could go to the very small (covid regulation restricted) funeral - having someone nearby that we can trust who is knowledgeable and experienced in the holistic way we care for the herd is an incredible blessing and we are so hugely grateful.

So..... I guess you all know what's coming next in this nightmare! A few days after Mum's funeral, still wracked with grief, we received the next body blow ... that our landlord will be selling this place and we have leave at the end of our tenancy in November. There are no words. We moved the herd the 250 mile 6 hours long journey because we were led to believe that this would be their and our forever home. That they wanted a sanctuary here and us to run it, and we would even have a retirement home here in years to come. In return for this we are paying rent for a house and the land and were working tirelessly at building up a social enterprise here in the exacting way the landlord wanted. It has taken several weeks to pull myself through this latest shock, and meanwhile we have been busy looking for somewhere else to live come November for us and the herd. We need to rent short term until probate and my parents house sale is through, and are still looking for the right place. I'm clock watching as I type this as we are shortly off to look at another potential site - fingers crossed! It's exhausting!



and digging deep for inspiration, with lots of meditative practice, immersion in nature, creative writing, time with the phenomenal energy of the herd and inspiration from YOU guys, somehow I have found the energy to contemplate trying to raise the £1.2m required to buy this place and safeguard the herd's future forever. What an amazing thing that would be hey?!

Endless meetings with property lawyers, mortgage brokers, financial advisors, investors, supporters, sponsors and friends, researching and meeting with cooperatives, mutual housing associations and other creative ways of achieving this seemingly unachievable feat... and it looks like we may very possibly have found a way. It's early days and I am very open to speaking to anyone who has alternative suggestions or financing models, offers of investment etc... please! Of course the landlord still has to accept our offer and now allow anyone to gazump us... so there's a very long way to go still!

It is an honour to help others who are doing amazing rescue work and one day I hope to be able to have a financial model that I can roll out as a blue print to support others who wish to set up their own sanctuaries.


In amongst all this, as I mentioned above, mindfulness, being in nature and meditation has been a life saver, as well as the incredible heartfulness of the herd. Another way I've found solace and a source of inspiration is by writing the Springwood story. I am intending to publish this, along with the many of the exquisite photographs from Georgina Weston of the herd. It will be their and my story of past trauma and how we rehabilitated and thrived into the healed and energised state we now live in. Lots of inspirational quotes and messages from them and me. It is the first time I have shared their past as I am keen for them to be seen as the magnificent healed herd that they are, living in the present in peace and with trust. Somehow I will find a way to still portray this as the fundamental essence of them... it's work in progress! Watch this space.

Last but not least ...


Immense, incredibly huge and abundant gratitude to YOU my dear friend who is reading this and supporting us on our journey. If it wasn't for all the support energetically and financially that we receive to pay for the huge day to day expenses of the herd, I simply wouldn't have been able to carry on in this way. I am so indebted to you all and don't want you to think that I take any money received with anything other than absolutely immense gratitude.

Wishing you all a wonderful week and hopefully I will have some extraordinarily wonderful news to share with in next week's newsletter!

With much love to you all


ps, sorry my tech skills were not up to inserting photos throughout this and so it's very 'wordy'. By the next newsletter I hope to have mastered this a bit better!! :)

pps apologies for any typos etc in this newsletter - I am sending it off to you without properly proof reading as I need to get out to that land viewing pronto! If I don't attempt to send it now then it could get lost deep in the wix website editing dashboard forever!!

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