This is Ernie. In October 2011, he was rescued from starvation by the ISPCA and I followed up his story here and here
This week, I took some old rugs and head-collars up to the Victor Dowling Centre, the ISPCA's Munster Equine centre. I met up with Chris, the centre's manager, and of course I asked to see Ernie again.
Well, what a difference a year makes!
Three yearling colts were snoozing in the paddock as we approached.
Horses can't lie.
Ernie has grown a lot - last year, his poll didn't even reach the breast-bar in my trailer, but he's pushing thirteen hands, now.
It's incredibly rewarding to see him like this, a well-grown, confident young pony.
This year, the Victor Dowling Centre is inundated with foals.
These cob foals were dumped within days of being born
so that their dams could be hired out as foster mares.
They've been on milk up to now, but have just switched to yearling feed and milk pellets and are doing well.
His mum was described by Chris as "the sweetest old pet of a pony you'd ever come across."
I have to confess, though, that my heart was completely stolen by this little lady.
Her companion was impounded after being offered for sale at a horse fair, less than two months old, far too young to be removed from his mother.
No, he's not the best looking foal to ever hit the ground, but he's already doing a worthwhile job - keeping the little filly company.
Irish followers, please don't forget the horse rescue agencies. They need any help they can get in these tough times, so if you have old rugs, head collars, lead-ropes or whatever lying around, consider donating them to your local rescue centre or the ISPCA (email the Victor Dowling Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or the National Animal Centre at email@example.com).
It's a cruel time for our four-legged friends and every little helps.
From a Facebook friend, how to make an admin-free donation to the Victor Dowling Centre :
I found out how to make a donation directly to the Victor Dowling centre by the way, Martine. You contact Brian from Duhallow Feeds 086 2696967 and send him a cheque with a cover note and he will credit your donation to their feed bill account. 100% useful, no admin costs, goes to local horses we know are in need.