Our Story

We are here, we are here to help, let us help. We are here for those horses to be seen and heard and make a difference. We see you; we hear you and we are coming to help. We cannot do this alone, we need you, and your support.

Annie Connolly

Founder

I was living with an undiagnosed chronic condition which did not help or calm down my terrible health anxiety which dominated my life as far back as I can remember. Living every day convinced you are terminally ill is an all-consuming debilitating feeling, one which took over and consumed every aspect of my life at that time.

Not getting anywhere with the medical profession I almost relented, I pretty much gave in. I looked at my life and thought what I have said I would do that I haven’t yet done. How many times have we said, “one day I will.…” Well what do I want and when is this day.

“Living every day convinced you are terminally ill is an all-consuming debilitating feeling”

I had a pony as a little girl and always said as an adult one day I will get another. I decided now, is the time as this is all I have. I needed a purpose something that depended on me something that needed me and something I had to get up for, something that got me out of bed in an attempt to defy this imperious doom I felt.

Cherry

Our Inspiration

I certainly took on a project. I bought a thoroughbred mare, an ex-racer in fact. I was totally over horsed.

Cherry hadn’t had a great life; she had been a race horse and a pretty good one as far as I can see. She had a couple of injuries which indicated she had a reasonably bad accident at some point, maybe this ended her career…something I will never know.

What I do know is, the race yard bred from her, she produced a colt and she was immediately put into the sales, still lactating. The sales are a difficult place for a horse, noisy and scary and their fate…. well who knows.

Cherry was bought in the sales by a wonderful girl who saw this pretty mare shaking in the corner all tucked up and not at all happy. She hadn’t been bid on; ex racers are not particularly desirable. She would likely end up going for meat.

My gorgeous friend bartered after the sale finished and ended up taking cherry home and saved her from a death totally unimaginable, knowing cherry how I do this makes me feel physically sick.

Eventually I was blessed enough for her to be mine, she was now my pet. I knew as a horse she was too much for me, but her kind eye her beautiful face won me over and I knew together we would grow and teach each other.

Cherry was a very insecure girl who had so much love to give but was very nervous. So many times, I was advised to have her shot. So many people told me she was dangerous, and she would end up killing me.

Every day I spent hours with her, just being with her, she trusted she was mine and was going to be with me forever. I think she felt secure, loved, she trusted me, and I trusted her. We developed a bond better than anything I could have ever imagined. She truly was my best friend I literally trusted her with my life, and she trusted me with hers, we had so many hours of fun… she got me better and made me a better person.

After many wonderful years together, Cherry passed away too early. A day I will never ever forget. The most unnatural thing in the world is to call time on a life you love and cherish, but she was suffering and there wasn’t anything that could be done for her. She fought for her life but to no avail.

She had suffered, she was loving she was sweet she was a saviour in her own way, she was sent here to save me, we saved each other and now I want to fulfil the promise I made to her as I whispered goodbye to her, with her head in my arms in her final moments I apologised she had ever suffered at the hands of humans and I will do all I can to help other horses.

They deserve more, they deserve respect and love. She was a friendly gorgeous horse who loved being part of the herd, her friends were around her as she passed. Silence and stillness of the horses near her again told me all I needed to know that horses feel, they know. They knew she was leaving this world. As I lead her out her stable, she called to her friends they lined up in silence heads down and in their own way acknowledged her passing. A day and another lesson I will never forget.

“With her head in my arms in her final moments I apologised she had ever suffered at the hands of humans and I will do all I can to help other horses”

So, cherry anything and everything I do for race horses and working horses form this day forward is for you, in your name.
I love you and I am grateful for every lesson you have taught me.

Romania

Our Focus

I was in Romania on a project relating to dogs, I was being driven around Chernavoda and what struck me were the amount of horses on the roads. They were skinny, there were suffering, they had new sores, old sores, they were working hard.

It led me to ask the vets what the situation was regarding these horses. I was not expecting the answer, horses are machines, they work the land, they provide transport and that’s how they are considered.

They are not pets, they are not considered living breathing souls who require care. Some are not even fed and in one area there is an estimated 20,000 horses and only 1 equine vet. An astonishing statistic.

We pulled up at a level crossing waiting for a train to go past and next to me was a horse and cart. Skinny, boney, and bleeding, he was directly next to me he had a makeshift bit in his mouth.

I knew in that very moment this was my purpose, that is what I am here for. I need to help these horses that have no one. No rights, no help no consideration. We need to help them and that’s my mission. My overwhelming, over riding mission and purpose.

“They are not pets, they are not considered living breathing souls who require care. Some are not even fed…”

I don’t judge or blame the owners they are themselves living a tough life they are a consequence of an ex-communist country which to some degree is still developing. A poor country, yes, certainly with some inherent cruelty issues. I believe they will accept our help.

The Cherry Horse Foundation International

This is for all those horses that exist and share our planet that no one sees, no one hears their cry when they are exhausted, in pain and need a break. No one sees or hears the cry of a mother whose foal has been taken away from them when all she wants to do is nurture and be a mum to her baby, but this is distracting and means work isn’t being done. Sometimes the foals are dragged physically incapable alongside their mum or sometimes the foal is discarded like an object surplus to requirement.

We are here, we are here to help, let us help. We are here for those horses to be seen and heard and make a difference. We see you; we hear you and we are coming to help. We cannot do this alone, we need you, and your support.

“We are here for those horses to be seen and heard and make a difference. We see you; we hear you and we are coming to help.”

In your name Cherry. I love you!

We Need Your Help

It is your donations that help keep our projects going

Your Money

We give direct to source — every single penny you donate will go direct to making horses lives that little easier. Donate now

Your Time

We understand that so many of you will want to directly help these forgotten horses and sometimes don’t have enough money to donate or feel you have certain skills which would be far more effective in helping.

Your Equipment

We run collections where we gather up as much equipment as we can and will ship this to our associated charities in Romania. We desperately need bits, head collars, lead ropes and outdoor rugs. Any size any condition.