Located in Silpho, nearly three miles from the nearest town Scalby, lies Silpho Brow Farm West. The farm, run by Louie Smith, is since late September/early October 2014 home to seventeen rescued horses. Some of them were given away by their owners, some of them saved from the slaughter house, others rescued due to laminitis; a hoof diseases that cripples a horse and normally causes owners to put them down. Most of these horses know difficult and troubled pasts and have been scarred in many ways possible. One example is a beautiful brown colt, who was hit with a whip every time the owner made a clicking sound with the tongue. But there are also horses here that were simply too good and too healthy to be put down or send to the slaughter house, like the white colt that, at the age of 25, was given a second chance and new life at Silpho Brow. The farm allows them to recover, to heal and to eventually be united with former or new owners after an intensive period of treatment. The horses live in an environment that is both as close to nature as possible as well as carefully and individually constructed of natural and holistic extra care in the form of medicine, supplements and/or food.
Most of the horses live outside in a large, square field on the hill, right on the edge of Langdale Forest, part of the North York Moors National Park. They spend their days as a herd, grazing around a square paddock that naturally forces them to move around, rather than standing still or laying around in the same area.
Three horses are housed right on the farm. One of them is Rory, a 20+ year old male, who’s been suffering from laminitis and the aftermath of this disease for several years now. Apart from having hoof problems, he’s also a diabetic. This means that he’s not allowed to eat grass continually like most of horses and put on a special diet. After his late morning walk with one of the helpers, he’s put in the grass-covered orchard until the late afternoon when he returns to his stables again.
The second horse is a troubled black mare, named Fleur. While being an absolute beauty, Fleur has many social problems, causing difficulties with people. Her owners, unable to cope with her at times moody and even erratic and somewhat aggressive behaviour, had to give her away. By working with Fleur in a natural and equal manner and through bonding training as well as teaching her (new) social skills while allowing her to still be a horse, the goal is to get Fleur as ready as possible for a new owner.
The last horse, another black mare called Dolly, only recently gave birth to a foal, Leo, named after one of the workawayers present at the farm during the birth. Dolly and Leo, like Fleur, suffer from lice and by keeping them in their own respective paddocks on the farm, have to be quarantined until they have been successfully treated.
Apart from horse and animal care (there is also a rescued collie by the name of Dixie), there is plenty of work to do for the charity that funds this farm. There is a continuous stream of bric-a-brac, vintage clothes and or items and other old, second-hand bought or donated things that needs cleaning, organising and then selling. The barn is filled with found treasures like old furniture. All of the money earned by selling these items go straight into the charity, allowing Lou to take care of the horses.
Apart from the farm being a shelter for horses, it is also a learning place. Lou, along with recently hired Rachel, teaches workawayers the way to work with horses in the most natural manner/way possible. This not only ensure that the horses will be more than suitable and reliable when connecting with their new owners, it also raises more awareness among people on how to treat and work with your horse in a respectful, positive and productive way.