After the decision to take in Luceiro and start the rescue centre things happened very quickly around us; the word got out. Two days later we had call from a very distressed German farrier telling us of an English lady who had lots of horses that were being left to starve; he had seen three which were already dead. He took us to where they were, we knocked on her door only to be greeted by her son. We calmly explained why we were there, he himself was very upset and told us his mother had been ill and was no longer able to take care of all her animals and he himself had just arrived from England to sort everything out.
He took us round to the back to where all the animals were; turning the corner we were confronted by a sea of miniature French Papillion's and Pomeranians, there must have been 200 of them plus various other large dogs, a total of about 250 and all barking. "Mother is a great animal lover", shouted her son, to be heard over the noise of all the dogs, me and Rod just looked at each other lost for words and quickly followed him past the din further down the garden out into a field.
We were about to meet our Arab family although we did not know it then but this is Taffeta's story. There stood 20 severely malnourished Arabian horses and foals plus 17 mini horses. The son obviously felt very awkward about the condition they were in; he must have buried the dead ones as there was there was no sign of the bodies but there were signs of earth disturbance.
We decided that if we were going to help these horses it was better to be tactful and so we offered our help, suggesting we could help by taking some of them to ours and feed them as with all the other animals it was obviously too much for them, he instantly thought it was a good idea and would speak to his mother. He then said that someone had already bought the miniature horses and was coming tomorrow to take them away, they did not appear to be in a too bad condition.
We then arranged to come back the next day to meet her. We walked away from the house, stunned about what we had seen; how can anyone have that many animals and think they can care for them all???
We went back the next day taking with us our good friend Kay who also happens to be our equine dentist. This enabled us to take pictures and investigate further, while the owner was kept talking. We were greeted by the son who introduced us to his mother who seemed totally oblivious to the fact that the horses were skeletal; she then explained that she had brought these valuable horses over from England with her partner who had since left, leaving her to take care of them on her own. She was obviously very eccentric so again we decided that tact was the best way forward. After making polite conversation with her about all her dogs, none of which she wanted to part with however they all looked really well; we finally made it down to the field where the horses were kept.
The miniature horses had already been taken away and the Arabian horses stood there looking at us hopefully. She finally agreed that we could have the worst four of the group, one being a mare in foal plus three youngsters. The others she informed us she was going to take back to England with her. In the mean time while we were negotiating. Kay went to have a look around, and hidden away left to die was a miniature horse; the person who took the other miniature horses obviously had no interest in having her as she was ill, so they probably didn't want us to see her.
Kay called us over and there laid this little horse all curled up and dying of dehydration, her frail body skeletal, her bones had broken though the skin on both her hips and were covered in flies and once again the owner seemed completely oblivious as she said "you can have her if you'd like but she is very ill; She could not remember her name but she thought she was called Taffeta, she comes from a very special bloodline." The woman's son just stood there looking embarrassed and tearfull.
We obviously needed to get her out immediately and get her home to save her, we managed to revive her with some water and then the three of us carried her out to trailer and got her home. Then the fight was on to save her life, her body was full of infection, she was put on very strong antibiotics and other various medications. We did go back and get the Arab family, but that is another story.
When we thought Taffy was finally out of the woods another infection broke out under her eye and she was rushed to the hospital to get surgery to prevent her from losing her eyesight. It took us about a year to get her completely healthy again. We decided to keep the name Taffeta as it suits her.
With just us, Lucerio and Taffeta at home, Taffeta wanted to be part of everything that went on around and inside the house. She became part of the furniture. Always in the kitchen going through the fruit bowl or traipsing in and out of the living room so she can check herself out in our glass doors. She is no ordinary little mini horse. She has such an inquiring mind and a fascination with mirrors and her reflection.
In the 4-5 years that she has lived with us she has now become something of a celebrity diva, frequently going to fashion shows, shop openings and various events where her presence is requested. Amazingly we discovered her talents when in the early days we were asked to take her to a fundraising event for the rescue centre that was being held on top of a shopping mall. I nervously agreed to take her but said if she is not happy with this when we get there we will take her home. When we arrived I was told we would have to take her up in a service lift. As the lift doors opened we were greeted by a crowd of over 300 people who all came forward eager to see her and touch her, including a fanfare playing The Black Beauty theme music. She calmly looked at them all, walked out of the lift into the crowd and just took charge of the situation; she just changed into this little horse that was in love with the spotlights and being the centre of attention, leaving us all amazed and baffled. She absolutely loves these events and all her fans. And be warned, if there is a mirror at an event the gorgeous Taffy will find it.