Volunteers help retired and abandoned equines

Volunteers help retired and abandoned equines

If we need to pick one heartwarming story about the work being done by the Hellenic Society for Equine Welfare, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, it would have to be that of Foivos, a 2-year-old horse living happily at the association’s new facilities in Markopoulo, northeast of Athens.

Foivos was found near Corinth after wandering around for months with a fractured back leg. Volunteers brought him to the center, where vets tried to set the bone, unsuccessfully. Euthanasia or amputation? The latter was chosen. The surgery went well and Foivos proved an excellent patient. Today, he is the first horse in Greece to have been fitted with a prosthetic limb.

The society was set up by a group of riding friends who decided to do something to help old and injured animals including neglected former racing horses and donkeys that could no longer carry heavy loads. The Hellenic Society for Equine Welfare is the first of its kind in Greece and has treated and cared for more than 100 animals, the majority of which have been adopted. The stables at Markopoulo are currently home to 15 horses that were abandoned by their owners in a pitiful state.

“We get calls every day from all over of Greece from people who have seen an injured or abandoned horse,” says society president Amalia Kyriakou. “We send a vet or one of our associates to assess the situation and then either bring the horse to our facility or find someone in the area to take care of it. There are a lot of people who are happy to take on a horse and the cost just for the company. Of course we do a lot of research before giving someone an animal – we check their facilities and so on.”

The society recently took in two mules from Hydra which had worked on the small car-free island all their lives but had reached an age where they could no longer do so.

“The municipality could not take on the responsibility so we took them and sent them to Crete, to a special center for elderly donkeys,” says Kyriakou.

All of the society’s expenses are paid for by its members and a handful of sponsors. The feed alone costs over 300 euros a months and then there’s the cost of specialized staff, an equine vet, a farrier and a horse dentist.

The society invites anyone who wants to help its efforts to adopt a horse by covering the cost of its treatment and keep.

It is also holding a special fundraising event to celebrate its 10th birthday Saturday, with music, drinks, food and gifts.

Hellenic Society for Equine Welfare, 3rd km of the Markopoulo Highway, Myrinoundos St, next to the Olympic Equine Center. The event starts at 11 a.m.

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