Everyone who has visited Crosskennan has met Jake and Thomas, the long-term residents who helped so many people, whether it be with a child's first time pony ride or helping someone overcome their fear of horses. It is therefore with great sadness that we bring the news of their deaths. Jake and Thomas were great friends and it is fitting that they should both go together.
Both ponies had developed Cushing's Disease, a dysfunction of the pituitary gland that causes, amongst other symptoms, laminitic changes in the feet leading to chronic lameness and pain. Sadly their condition could no longer be managed with pain relief and the hard decision was made to have them put to sleep together at Crosskennan.
Thomas came to us 20 years ago when he was about ten years old after a sanctuary volunteer, the late May Whitla, found him just as he was about to go for slaughter.
Jake came to us about 15 years ago, when he was also about 10, after he was rescued from an uncertain future by a long time Crosskennan supporter Dorothy.
Both ponies were great ambassadors for the sanctuary, helping teach young people to ride and groom as well as attending fetes, open days and school fairs.
We would like to thank everyone who has helped with Thomas and Jake over the years with particular mention going to Lily, Amiée and Cara who groomed them every weekend and provided them with extra care and attention in their last days. Also thank you to all the permanent staff at Crosskennan who cared for them and made sure their lives were filled with attention and love.
Thomas and Jake will be greatly missed by everyone here and remembered fondly by countless other people across Northern Ireland. They will both be cremated and their ashes scattered at a later date at Crosskennan.