Hero Horse No 26 – Gallant the Gentleman

You, our wonderful volunteers and supporters, suggested that our tribute to horses should include ALL equids and so we welcome this wonderful donkey, nominated by the kind-hearted staff at Reystede Centre for Animal Welfare in Ringmer, East Sussex to feature as one of our 100 Hero Horses. We at War Horse Memorial were so sad to hear of his death last month as he had been a poster boy for our Animal Purple Poppy Fund in August. Judging by his handsome good looks and gentle nature you can see why the team at Reystede chose him. 

Gallant, or HMS Gallant to give him his full title, was born in 1994. He had spent most of his life in a loving home but when his companion died, his owners had to make the very difficult decision to take him to Raystede. They were getting older and no longer in a position to take on another donkey as a friend for Gallant. Donkeys do not thrive when kept alone. With his best interests in mind, they felt the best option for a secure and happy future for Gallant was for him to go into the care of Reystede.

Gallant quickly established himself as the ‘gentleman’ of the herd and bonded with a little jenny called Dolly ( pictured with him below) to whom he was absolutely devoted. He proved himself to be a gentle and loving soul and with perfect manners, testament to the excellent care he had received in his previous home. He was also exceptionally handsome and his image appeared on multiple marketing and publicity materials for the charity; his nature and looks making him the perfect model!

PERFECT COUPLE: Gallant (right) and new-found companion Dolly

Eleanor, the Centre’s Relationship Officer tells us; “Raystede is usually open to visitors year-round, but the pandemic meant closing the site for much of 2020. When we were able to safely open during a brief period in the late Summer, one of Gallant’s previous owners popped in to see him and meet Dolly. Gallant was delighted to show off his wife.

“In November 2020, Gallant showed signs of unexplained weight loss, so the vet was consulted, and bloods taken. Nothing was flagged up, but Gallant was starting to show signs of discomfort and his mobility was becoming compromised. All but the most invasive of tests were exhausted and in consultation with our vets, the Donkey Sanctuary and bearing in mind Gallant’s age and quality of life, the heart-breaking decision was made to say goodbye. Gallant was put painlessly to sleep with his beloved Dolly by his side just before Christmas 2020.

“Gallant is much missed by both staff and visitors at Raystede. He knew how much the camera loved him and was a tremendous poser, so we are happy to have so many photographs of him to remember him by.  He was the epitome of stoicism and gentleness that donkeys are famed for and we were so privileged as an organisation to have him for his twilight years.”

For more information on the wonderful work done at Reystede to rescue, rehome and provide sanctuary to more than 2,000 animals each year, please contact Eleanor Stourton, Relationship Officer.

Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare
The Broyle, Ringmer
East Sussex BN8 5AJ

Call: (01825) 840252 Email: info@raystede.org

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