Calan Horse Sanctuary
Found collapsed under a tree, Irish, a once beautiful, kind, Standardbred, was a bag of bones, covered in scratches from head to tail and left to rot.
When rescued by Calan Horse Sanctuary, dental exams found an even worse situation inside this poor fella with deep grooves down the sides of his mouth from years of neglect, so painful he couldn’t eat.
With no self esteem and rightful anger towards humans, Irish was brought back from the brink by the loving hands and care of Alan Gent, CHS founder. (For stories on all our horses, visit http://calan.cavalletti.com.au/ourhorses.html )
Irish is but one of 16 horses currently being cared for, some with similar stories of abuse, neglect and abandonment. Honner, the horse with one eye in the photo, is another.
You can secure a bright future for these deserving equines through donations that will enable us to complete the remaining stables that will provide 'true sanctuary' for a few more last chance horses where they will never be hurt again.
"It happened about 3 years ago. It had been a long hot day of horse and cattle work. My every muscle and sinew ached , I was tired, hot and in need of a shower and then, just as I thought I could finally start my long drive home, another call came in. I had never heard of the man at the other end of the phone but he introduced himself as a Mr Alan Gent, owner of a horse sanctuary called Calan Horse Sanctuary and he needed the services of a vet.
With that my heart sank. The caller had sounded sympathetic enough but you see, I have been a veterinarian for more years than I care to admit and over the years I have learnt that in Australia “Horse Sanctuary” is usually synonymous with horse hoarders, lots of skinny, semi neglected underfed horses thrown in a paddock to fend for themselves with zero planning for the cost of feeding or infrastructure and worst of all the invariable absence of anything that even vaguely resembles horsemanship. In short: an animal welfare disaster.
As I drove along the seemingly endless, dusty road flanked by scrubby saltbush and little else by way of pasture on the way to my new client, my mood became increasingly somber at the prospect of what I was about to witness. Then finally a left turn and more dusty road and more scrubland and then finally I came to a gate at which point I became really annoyed with myself because I had obviously arrived at the wrong place. This was definitely no horse sanctuary as I knew them. Instead it looked more like a well appointed horse stud or a high end equine agistment centre.
I found myself in front of a neat entrance admiring a generous, tidy, well fenced driveway leading towards row upon row of neatly fenced horse yards, each yard with a shelter and its own rainwater tank with neat lanes in between. Further behind that I could see several large paddocks with good pasture and contentedly grazing horses. Every fence was in good condition and the whole place looked cared for and well maintained.
On closer inspection I realised that the sign at the gate proclaimed that I apparently WAS at the right address so I proceeded slowly towards the second gate where I was welcomed by the lean weathered smiling face of a man who introduced himself as Alan Gent. The hand that reached in through the open car window to shake mine was the hand of a man who doesn’t shy away from hard physical labour.
Since that day I have got to know Alan quite well. Lean, wiry, honest, somewhat weatherbeaten from relentlessly working in the elements, ready smile, and a twinkle in his eye, Alan has built the sanctuary from scratch and he has done it brilliantly. He has built every piece of well appointed infrastructure himself and has done so to a highest standard. In addition he does every bit of the never ending job of maintenance himself with the help of his son. The incredible thing is that every bit of money which I would imagine was originally destined to provide for a comfortable retirement goes towards the running and maintenance of this superb establishment.
He doesn’t waste a cent but whatever he does, he does it well. Day in day out he monitors and cares for the horses in his charge with sensitivity mixed with equal doses of realism and every horse is catered for according to its individual needs and there always seems some time left over to give every horse a scratch or a rub and a word of encouragement .
As you might have guessed by now, I am extremely sceptical about horse sanctuaries and horse rescue groups, let alone suggest that people should donate money to them but the Calan Horse Sanctuary run by Alan Gent is the exception to my rule.
To anyone who would like to help this wonderful horse sanctuary by making a financial donation I can without reservation say that your money will be well spent on the needs of the many horses that are in Alan’s care. Alan’s management is meticulous and I can personally vouch for the fact that not a cent of any donated money will be wasted or spent on anything other than its intended use.
Dr Jules Vandenbergh BSc BVMS
Vandenbergh Veterinary Group P/L
Collie, Boyup Brook, Darkan, Narrogin
Previously known by the name “McIver”, C.H.S. has bestowed upon the new name of “Beriah” meaning “Unfortunate One”.
Beriah was first rescued around 11 years ago due to the former owner labeling him as “Surplus to their requirements” and considering it “time” to maybe shoot him.
It is shocking that this once magnificent looking horse had completed at the highest level of Equestrian Sport, but now before us stood a sad, under nourished black gelding.
We were told that a person who had worked where Beriah was stabled and trained had witnessed him being beaten, starved and abused.
Beriah’s rescuer set about treating him gently and with consistent kindness enabling him to trust humans again. Being of course, hand shy any sudden movement of any one’s hand would cause him to rear up in fear.
Unfortunately, the lovely lady who rescued him fell on bad times and her property had to be sold, necessitating Beriah to be agisted elsewhere and away from his rescuer’s loving care. Her efforts to still care for his welfare financially, in spite of her personal problems became too much, and after 8 years of “No hands on care” agistment she realized he needed a true sanctuary as his health was rapidly deteriorating.
Beriah’s rescuer’s sent out a heart felt plea to C.H.S. to please consider him to join our family. After much consideration we opened our hearts and gates to this 26 year old, beautiful and forgiving horse where we will endeavour to help him regain his health, self esteem and continue to trust humans for his remaining years.
If you would like to help Beriah or the other rescued horses at CHS, donate to our GFMe campaign or visit us in Western Australia. He would surely appreciate tender loving care from good human beings who want to help restore his health and see him thrive in his remaining years.
On treatment day we discovered that one of our newest rescues, 'Mae Lee', a 28- year old mare was believed to never have received any dental work. One of her top teeth was so long it partly demolished the tooth that was in the bottom under it. She had many ulcers at the back and sides of her mouth.
When she was being treated it was a very emotional time for us knowing the suffering and pain she has endured for 28 years. Mae will of course need further dental care and ongoing donations help us to provide her with the quality of care deserving of any being- especially those whose voice we represent.
The dentist also treated 'Lawson', a gelding who has been with us for a bit after found abandoned to a paddock for several years. He has also suffered from dental neglect such that his teeth could simply be pulled out with the dentist's fingers.
What might have to happen with this poor fella is to have his teeth removed on a regular basis because they're that far gone.
Here is a photo of Lawson after being given some pain relief before his dentist treatment. He softly edged his head against Alan and left it there for quite a while.
Won't you help us to continue helping Mae Lee, Lawson and the other equine residents at Calan Horse Sanctuary? You can and do make a difference and we invite you to invite your friends to donate to help us reach our GFMe goal which is only $450 shy of $2500.
Please share on Facebook and challenge your friends to donate the cost of a month of lattes or a few dinners out - every dollar counts and we believe we are making the world a better, kinder place for animals through direct care of the existing resident horses at CHS, working with other organizations to identify horses in need, being able to offer refuge to horses in the future and educating people on humane treatment through our website and facebook posts. Thank you on behalf of all of us at Calan Horse Sanctuary.
Alan, you respresent all that is honourable, honest, compassionate and loving in the world. You are a rare gem and what you have created in Calan Sanctuary is breath taking. Not only a sanctuary for horses, but humans too. You are the Great Leap Forward in evolution - a few steps for mankind, a giant hoof print for the horse! Thank you for all that you are and for all that you do. Your energy enriches every sentient being fortunate enough to be in your presence. Thank you just does not seem adequate to express the depth of appreciation and gratitude I feel toward saintly folk like yourself! xxx