Founded 30 years ago by Olive Lomas (who also helped found the Bleakholt Sanctuary) Only Foals and Horses was set up to rescue mares in foal destined for slaughter.
Later, as Olive’s reputation for never saying no to an animal in need spread, she acquired not only equines but pot-bellied pigs, a lamb, chickens and goats. She died in a nursing home in December 2013, having spent the best part of ten years in a Portakabin in the midst of the main stable block, at home with her “family” of animals.
Her burning passion was to reach traumatised, abused and neglected horses, young or old, and to comfort them day and night; no infirmity was a deterrent to Olive offering ‘room at the inn.’ If there was space, Olive took them in.
Our latest rescue case was brought to us just before Christmas 2016 in a pitiable near-death condition and we’re painstakingly turning him around. Also about a year ago we decided to pursue a new concept: equine wellbeing (horse-human bonding). It came out of a desire to give our rescued horses a purpose and by default a better quality of life; we’re observing that their ability to forgive and reach out to mankind (despite their traumatic treatment in the past) is remarkable.
So now we have a new focus: helping those horses to help and empower people. We hope this will help us to leverage grant funding from appropriate sources and/or corporate sponsorship.
Olive’s death four years ago created a huge vacuum. She was a charismatic and forceful leader, a fearless fund-raiser, a brave campaigner; an ordinary woman with a simple upbringing, but capable of articulate and compelling letter-writing. Her campaigning zeal, integrity and authentic sincerity created a steady flow of legacies which kept the Sanctuary afloat.
Currently, operating costs exceed £20,000 per month. We urgently need to generate additional income to restore our financial reserves and fund long overdue building and maintenance work. Our equine wellbeing and horse-human bonding project makes our work eligible for public funding and we are thrilled at how well our abused horses are responding. Little Solomon, who has been “emotionally closed” after being repeatedly stabbed in the chest, is finally responding well to a vulnerable young woman who is turning into something of a horse whisperer!
Keeping the sanctuary going is a constant fundraising battle. This year we are depending on Olive to fortify all our efforts with her spiritual support - we must not fail.