The Victor Dowling Centre

Any Wanderly Wagons’ followers remember this little chap?

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.

They strolled confidently over to say hello to us.  I recognised Ernie immediately – he was the only dark bay present!

Horses can’t lie. 

They all adore Chris.

You just know that this man has never mis-treated a horse in his life.

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.
This little guy was born on the premises a few days ago.
His mum was described by Chris as “the sweetest old pet of a pony you’d ever come across.”

 but he’s a bit of a character

as you can see!

I have to confess, though, that my heart was completely stolen by this little lady.

Her very elderly mum had died of a heart attack the night before my visit.  She’s a few weeks old, and is, thankfully, eating well.  Chris is feeding her three times a day and she’s nibbling grass all day as well.  She’s a pretty little thing, and a very smart mover!

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 or the National Animal Centre at  
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.

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