HYDERABAD: Moon Shadow was found in Serilingampally, abandoned. One of its hooves had been infested with maggots and it could no longer walk.
Luckily, it was found by Pratima Sagar of the Horse Women of Hyderabad (HWH) group, and another volunteer arranged for the transport to take the pony to a stable at Hyderabad Polo and Riding Club (HPRC) as it could no longer walk.
Marie Moinier, another volunteer, took care of Moon Shadow and nursed it back to health.
Unfortunately, the pony’s infested hoof had to be amputated, but she has a leather hoof now which Marie got specially made for her.
Moon shadow is doing well now and shares her enclosure with a few raucous ducks.
The Horse Women of Hyderabad was formed four years back when a few animal lovers decided to come together to take care of abandoned, injured and sick horses and donkeys.
Since their formation, they have rescued 15 horses abandoned on the streets.
Marie came to India with her husband and has been taking care of three abandoned horses for the last five years.
An avid rider, she is into cross country horse riding, and a childhood among the gentle animals has made her very attuned to the feelings of the animals. “I have been a frequent rider and volunteer in HPRC. Since I am going back to France now, I have given away my last horse, Chimney, to the club. But my association with the HWH will continue.”
Pratima nods her head in affirmation.
“We are a sisterhood committed to take care of abandoned horses and donkeys. I am starting my venture ‘Horses in Heartland’ next year on the outskirts of the city, which will be more spacious. Right now, I have two retired racehorses, one pony (Moon Shadow), and several cats and dogs in my house compound. I have been always close to animals since childhood, and this group is a manifestation of the deep love I feel for these voiceless creatures,” she says.
Pratima, who is a writer and an artist, also teaches children how to ride horses.
Raita Mocherla, who was born in Guntur, has two horses and two ponies in their farm on the outskirts of the city.
While the horses were found abandoned, the ponies were adopted from a school which was keeping them as pets but was not taking care of them well. “The horses have been named Suman and Rose, and the ponies were named Jasmine and Lily by my children. Rose is a retired racehorse. Our group has also bought old horses from auctions.”
Hannah Surabhi, who is married into the royal Surabhi family of the Jataprolu dynasty, wants to go a step ahead and introduce Equin-assisted Therapy in Hyderabad to help children with special needs.
“Horses are great therapy animals. They are much better than machines to help children with special needs in their mobility. Also, my in-laws have heritage stables which are 120 years old. Their association with horses go back a long time. We are now trying to revive those stables.”
The HWH has other members too and they believe that they can work together to make Hyderabad a kinder place for horses.
All these women are adept at riding and taking care of these gentle animals and are using their own money to treat and provide happy homes to them.
In these times where the plight of abandoned dogs and cats receives a lot of attention, the group wants to be a voice for the orphan horses.