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Cally’s real-life rescue story

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Cally was rescued from Portugal and transported to England, where she was bought by Penny Paddle who lives in Cornwall. Penny tells the story of how she found and saved Cally.

“After another long, hard winter of mud, rain and aches and pains, I decided it was time to give up riding. My lovely, but very opinionated mare, Monica, would have to go out on loan and I planned to focus instead on supporting my daughter. She and her friends all own Lusitanos, and the highlight of the Iberian horse calendar is the Lusitano Breed Show. Now horseless, I agreed to tag along. It was my first time at an Iberian show and I was blown away by it. I thoroughly caught the Iberian bug. Part of me really wanted one of these beautiful, versatile horses of my own, but I was supposed to be downsizing.

Nevertheless, I began to trawl the internet for an Iberian horse of my own. Horses streamed across my laptop screen and, eventually, through Facebook, I saw a beautiful buckskin Iberian mare for sale. She was seven years old, and had been rescued from slaughter and imported from Portugal by a lady in Hampshire. After four-and-a-half months being lovingly nursed back to health, the mare had put on lots of weight, although she hadn’t been ridden and no one even knew if she was broken in. But her new owner’s personal circumstances had changed and she could no longer keep her. Her beautiful, brown, soulful eyes touched my heart and I really wanted to give her a second chance. Based on a couple of photographs and a two-second clip of her trotting in the field, I emailed back and said that I wanted her.

“It was a long drive from Cornwall, and my daughter Poppy and I were exhausted when we finally reached the field where the mare was kept. We waited patiently by the gate while her owner went to collect her. When they brought her out, they told us not to touch her, because she was still very nervous of strangers. As she stood in front of us, she shook with fear. It was heartbreaking.”

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