The latest news from Island Farm and our donkeys. News includes some new arrivals, reports from donkey shows and our donkeys at other events, and updates about fundraising activities and other items of general interest.
Perfect weather greeted our annual Donkey Show and Fun Dog Show on the 5th July when 38 donkeys from as far afield as Bristol, Huntingford and Crawley were entered in classes such as Best Condition and Turnout, Best Stallion, Best Mare, etc.
New for this year were Driving Classes with beautifully turned out donkeys in harness pulling equally impressive carts. We would like to thank Angela and Peter Scales for arranging such a fantastic addition to the show. Feedback has been very positive and it is something we would definitely like to continue in 2016. The Show Drive through the picturesque village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell was well supported with Ros Lester, the Deputy Mayor of Wallingford, in attendance. Ros also judged the Concours d’Elegance class.
The results for all the In Hand and Driving Classes are below:
Please go to our Gallery page for images from the day including some from our Fun Dog Show. Thank you to Rachel Philo Photography for the photos of the In Hand and Miniature Champion donkeys. Check out www.rachelphilo.co.uk for more great photographs.
We would like to extend our thanks to Mr. Alec Horn, the In Hand Judge and the Driving Judge, Mr. Richard Wiggins plus all the stewards, volunteers and sponsors for making the show possible.
An In-Hand and Ridden Pony Show took place at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary on Sunday 7th June. Competitors and visitors were greeting by clear blue skies and pleasant weather in addition to the warm welcome from the staff and volunteers and donkeys here at the sanctuary.
Many beautifully turned-out ponies competed for rosettes in 40 different classes held in 3 show rings. Some of the classes at this event included:
Best Condition & turnout (ridden), Family pony (ridden), Shetland pony classes, Welsh pony classes, Exmoor / Dartmoor pony classes, Dales / Fell / New Forest/ Highland / Connemara pony classes, Coloured / Piebald / Skewbald ponies, a class for Roans, Duns, Palomino, Appaloosa ponies, Prettiest mare, and even a “Thelwell Pony” class.
Below are a couple more photographs from this Pony Show at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary.
Above, Catherine Keogh with ‘Rosy’ winning second in the Veteran class
Above, Right: Gavina Semonella on ‘Burnside Larra’, winner of the Supreme Championship
Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary’s 2015 Country Show took place on the weekend of 23-24 May.
This is an annual two day event featuring a wide range of entertainers and demonstrations of various skills and activities. Many attractions have a rural or agricultural associations while others are cultural or simply great fun. This year’s event featured birds of prey, a ‘Pets Corner’, llamas, dog agility and Shetland Pony agility events, model and craft displays, vintage cars and motorbikes, Irish dancers, Ashnah Folkloric Fusion Dance, and the Kennesaw Confederates and the H-Bar-C Drifters American West Living History Displays. Our popular fun dog show also takes place during the Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary Country Show weekend.
In addition to the displays, competitions and musical entertainment there were also plenty of stalls selling various products.
Below are a just a few photographs from this year’s Country Show, which took place in late May.
Above: Llamas and alpacas were among the exhibits at the 2015 Country Show.
Above, Left: Parade of Island Farm Adoption Donkeys
Above, Right: Island Farm’s ‘Monty’ awaiting his public at the Country Show
Donkeys are by far the most numerous residents at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary in Oxfordshire. Even so, if you look closely around the yard and fields or even just at the photographs on our website you’re sure to notice many other animal residents including chickens, geese, mice and a few larger mammals that occasional receive a mention in our newsletters and online.
Back in September 2013 we wrote about the arrival of Percy the pot-bellied pig together with various companions including a goat, a little brown duck, a Shetland pony and her mule foal together with his donkey dad. You can read more about them all here.
Although our main concern is for donkeys, all the animals at Island Farm are loved and cared for, which includes their various needs being met. Pigs need access to mud, or even better, a shallow muddy pool to cool off when the sun shines. Now that spring and some warmth from the sun is returning to Island Farm, here are a few photos of Percy doing what pigs do.
As our friends and supporters know, Island Farm donkeys are in demand for Palm Sunday church services. This year was no exception.
The donkeys were not too bothered by the rather blustery March weather. Here (right) are a couple of pictures of Tracey, nicely turned-out and presentable wearing a freshly cleaned and polished bridle for the occasion.
With Tracey in the picture below-right are Barbara, Sue, Wanda and Jack (the dog). As usual, Tracey is calm and relaxed. If you recognize her from elsewhere on this website that might be because you watched our Carol Service video at which she made an appearance, then stayed on afterwards with various stable mates including Billy the goat and some sheep.
We hoped to include a photo of Tracey in the procession but due to wind and weather, it looked rather blurred so here are some other pictures of that (below) instead. As you can see, there were a lot of people and flapping robes to add to the inclement weather, but nothing fazes Tracey.
The Saturday before Palm Sunday (yesterday, 28th March) was a busy day here at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary. Staff and volunteers were busy with the grooming kits preparing 16 donkeys for their starring roles in Palm Sunday processions.
As if it wasn’t enough to brush and pamper a mere 16 donkeys, others pushed in for attention too. All the donkeys showed every sign of appreciating the attention, just as the (human) team enjoyed giving it. They looked even more beautiful than usual by the time the grooming was done.
Here are a few more pictures of the work in progress …
As for the that last picture, donkeys will be donkeys …
Photos of this donkey grooming session have also been posted on our Facebook page.
Today two of our donkeys, Peter and Rudolf, are going to live at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre in London. Although most of our donkeys live here at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary (Oxfordshire, England), some of our donkeys are fostered elsewhere in the UK where we continue to ensure that they are well cared for.
Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre is an excellent equine facility at which rescued and well trained and cared for ponies provide the enjoyment of Riding for the Disabled (RDA) activities. Many people who have learning difficulties, among other challenges, also benefit from the hard work and fundraising needed to care for the animals and maintain and extend their facilities. Peter and Rudolf are expected to join the RDA team after they have settled in to their new home. In the early years RDA activities used to take place at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary. So, we are delighted to know that two of our donkeys will be carrying on that tradition at WSPC. It is a way of helping both our donkeys and the people that visit the PC.
Looking at the photos so far, they seem to be settling in quickly and enjoying their new surroundings. The ponies and donkeys enjoy their exercise with the human visitors and are never asked to do too much work. We have also heard that the equines at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre have the ‘perk’ of a 6 week annual holiday on a farm in Suffolk. Sounds good!
Below are the first few photos of Peter and Rudolf exploring their new surroundings and making a few new friends of the wonderful team at Wormwood Scrubs.
As you can see, the clips were recorded on a hand-held mobile phone.
Sorry about the occasional jitter but hopefully this conveys some sense of the occasion.
We started a few minutes after 7.30pm due to more people arriving, a good cause for delay as it was lovely to see so many of our friends and supporters despite the cold dark night.
The barn was almost full with everyone comfortably seated around tables. Not only was that cheerfully sociable, but it was especially convenient for enjoying the delicious mince pies and other treats afterwards. The above doesn’t give a fair impression of the number of people present because the person filming needed to stand no further back than almost halfway along the barn in order to include these views of the BENSON and ROKE BRASS BAND who played brilliantly for us, and of the Rev. Janice Chilton who conducted the service.
There are short clips of the band playing and the barn while people arrived, then some of the carols – including “Little Donkey” during which Linda brought in Tracey, the donkey who is also shown in the final clips of some of the animals that joined us in the barn for the carol service. Other animals present are included at the end. There were also some well-behaved dogs who were most welcome but are not shown.
Other features of the evening not depicted here included the stalls along the side of the barn at which volunteers sold various gifts including some delightful soft toys, knitted donkeys and other items from our shop. There were also two raffles that were drawn later in the evening and warming mulled wine, soft drinks and nibbles served after the music. Some people won nice prizes just in time for Christmas and much-needed funds were raised to contribute to the running of the sanctuary and the welfare of the donkeys in our care.
Thank-you again to the BENSON and ROKE BRASS BAND, Rev. Janice Chilton and everyone who came to support this event. A Happy New Year to all!
As 2014 comes to an end it’s time to thank all our friends and supporters for the help, good wishes and contributions of various kinds that we have received this year. Our Christmas message is conveyed by Jack and Charlie, two of our popular adoption donkeys, who are pictured below complete with the cheerful Santa hat stylishly modelled by Jack.
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and good health and fortune in 2015.
Our two day Country Show on the weekend of the 24th and 25th May was a good example of how the changeable British weather can make such a difference to an outdoor event. Early Saturday morning saw grey skies and a steady rain which affected the number of exhibitors and prompted a few last minute change of plans.
Lunchtime saw the clouds clear and the sun shining through but the wet conditions had already affected the show attendance. This was a pity as we had some outstanding dance displays from the Viv O’Gara School of Irish Dance and ‘Ashnah’, a fusion of Eastern, African and Spanish Flamenco dancing.
Mr. Muddles Magical Mayhem provided some excellent entertainment for young and old alike and several children were seen clutching their balloon animals tightly (but not too tight!). Also appearing in the show marquee were folk based ‘The Potting Shed Band’.
The Saturday evening lifted everyone’s spirits with a few games of bingo and we were delighted when both the Irish dancers and Ashnah were able to give another fantastic display on the stage. This was something new for this year’s show and was a real hit. Live music was provided by ‘Ridgeway’, a local duo with a great sound.
An advantage to having a two day show is that you get another chance and the forecast for a better Sunday was spot on. The sun was out early and it’s warmth dried the ground so well that it was hard to believe that 24 hours can be so different. With many more exhibitors, dancing, demonstrations and arena displays it was a great day.
Also during the two days were the fun dog show, craft stalls & demonstrations and model displays in The Barn where visitors could take a welcome break for refreshments.
The Show Committee are very grateful to Waitrose, Warmington Estate Agents. Fugro and Arthur Marsh Insurance for their sponsorship of the show and to our band of volunteers for giving up their time to help make our 2014 Country Show so enjoyable.
Daily from 11am to 4pm, except Christmas Day. Parking and admission free, donations appreciated. Cafe open most weekends & school holidays.