Darcey was rescued alongside her mother and over 60 other horses and ponies from a farm in Mallusk as part of a large joint project with rescues from all over Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It was a horrific rescue with it being too late for many of the animals there. All the horses were in appalling conditions. They were discovered in pure filth and excrement, surrounded by other dying or dead horses, surviving on minimal forage with no management or care. Many of the horses showed signs of ringworm, others had runny noses and eyes; some tested positive for lungworm while others were clearly lame. Darcey was estimated to be no more than 8 weeks old and was underweight and filthy.
Darcey naturally had a strong bond with her mother, Lacey, and together they were inseparable when they arrived at the sanctuary. Lacey was very difficult to work with because of her overprotectiveness of Darcey. We were lucky to have someone step forward and offer to foster the pair where they could grow and recuperate. During the time of foster, we were dealing with the Equine crisis and were completely overrun with horses and other animals in need. Before we knew it 8 years had passed and Lacey and Darcey were still out in their ‘temporary’ foster home.
When they returned the sanctuary tried to put into place weaning of mother and daughter, but neither Darcey nor Lacey were interested. We tried to rehome the pair but homes fell through one after the other. Darcey at some point had sustained an injury that prevented her from being ridden and due to her strong bond with her mother it was decided they would remain at the sanctuary where they are both happy together in their little herd. Darcey and Lacey sleep in stables next door to each other and are out all day together in the paddocks. They have a beautiful bond that we imagine is similar to that of wild horses who remain with their herds all their lives.