TAKING her rescued beagle Woody out for a walk literally changed Janine Cope’s life.
During her walk, she came across an abandoned horse which was desperate for food.
Janine and other local people fed the animal but she was so moved to care for him that she set up Todwick and Kiveton (TAK) Pony Rescue and Rehoming in Kiveton Park which now looks after 18 horses and a donkey — with more on the way.
But caring for the animals on Manor Road and Packman Lane is a constant challenge though people have been generous enough to help with cash and their time.
Amazingly, prior to finding the first horse, called Ginger, Janine had never owned one before and it has been a steep — and expensive — learning curve.
The rent for the fields and repair work to buildings have been funded by her and her partner Peter Harris, and she has been actively raising money through coffee mornings and other events, wellwishers and an up-and-coming calendar to get the cash for food for the horses.
Volunteers help look after the animals and repair buildings on the site. Indeed, 20-year-old donkey Gerty has been given a new palatial pad to enjoy.
Janine, who is a beautician, said: “Somebody said to me you cannot save them all. I said I would like to save one, but now I have saved 22 horses.
“If I had not taken Woody out and stumbled on the first horse then all this would not have happened.”
Janine is in the process of turning TAK into a registered charity and has just completed a roadway on the site to allow tractors to bring in hay required to feed all the hungry mouths.
The dry summer has caused problems for Janine, as it has to many farmers, because there has been little grass for the horses to eat so she has had to fork out on hay which is currently very expensive.
She said: “Now, the only thing I want to do is maintain what I have got.
“It went from taking the one horse to taking 18 with three more coming, and one more on the way.
“Everything is going well. I can’t believe it. I have no regrets. I wish I could do more.
“I started in May last year with my first field and have had a second field for four months.
“I have a vision of getting fields all over. There are problems with abandoned horses all over.”
Many horses are abandoned by their owners who cannot afford the costs such as feed and vets’ fees, and there have been cases of dead animals found by roadsides.