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Briar The Horse Trust

Sleep Tight, Briar

We come to you today with the heartbreaking news that our beloved donkey Briar has passed away.

As one of our longest standing residents, Briar has been with us for 20 years. She came to us in 2004 after many years at Battersea Children’s zoo alongside Uncle George, a Shetland who became an institution here at The Horse Trust and lived to the grand old age of 43. They both came here to live out their days in peace after giving so much joy to those that met them during their time at Battersea. She was joined by gorgeous Gladys, Lola & Nora in 2008 after they were rescued from the horrors of Spindles Farm in Amersham and Briar helped them all to settle into life here, like a grumpy old Aunt.

She quickly became a main character of our beautiful yard in the Chilterns, with her loud brays at breakfast and dinner time ringing among the hills. Small in stature but huge in character, she has always kept us on our toes despite already being somewhat of a senior citizen on arrival! Over her 20 years, she has outsmarted the grooms several times by escaping the donkey paddock during meal times and making a run for it, having to be retrieved from one of the gardens on site on at least one occasion! Those of you who have come to visit us might also know of her audacious character, as she would often be behind her own fence during visiting hours to protect fingers from getting ‘Briared!’ when she was not feeling quite so cuddly.

Donkeys are extremely stoic compared to horses and this means that they can hide illnesses very well as a protective mechanism to stop predators from attacking them when weak. This means that we always have to keep a very, very close eye on our donkey pals to make sure that they aren’t harbouring anything and keeping it a secret from us. This was even more important with Briar as she grew older as she was at more risk of developing illnesses or other conditions.

Unfortunately, in part due to her old age, she got an ulcer in her eye that was very uncomfortable, which was spotted quickly by the team and she was promptly seen by our veterinary surgeon to begin treatment. She required both oral medication as well as treatment on the eye daily and she began to find these daily interventions to heal her eye very upsetting. Therefore, it was decided to end treatment and let Briar go peacefully across the rainbow bridge at an amazing age of 33. Her sassy attitude and enormous bray will be sorely missed for a long time by all of us here and those who had the pleasure of meeting her when visiting our yard. Sleep tight, Briar, go and find Uncle George and get up to all those old tricks the two of you were so good at! You will always be a legend here HTx

The Horse Trust relies on public donations to continue to provide a forever home to retired military, police, Royal Mews and working horses. If you would like to be part of our story you can find out how below.


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