MEET THE HERD
Truth be told, Duldraeggan is not a horse rescue but... some of our horses are. Basically, we love horses and do what we can to help.
Rembrandt is our oldest resident at Duldraeggan. In 1996, at three years old, he was purchased by Alexandra’s parents as a birthday gift. This horse was a dream come true for young Alexandra. For the following years, the two of them became an inseparable pair exploring the Vienna Woods. In 2003, Alexandra’s family purchased a second horse, Romeo, who quickly became Rembrandt’s best friend. Ten years later, both of them moved to Canada with Alexandra. A few years ago Rembrandt suffered from a severe colic that almost cost him his life. Fortunately, he survived and has been enjoying his retirement at Duldraeggan since. Being the old boy that he is, we sometimes call him the grumpy old boy.
Rom, Goofy | The first rescue
Born in 1996, Romeo was owned by a butcher waiting for him to reach his meat price. All kinds of animals were slaughtered near his enclosure; he could see, smell and hear them. He wasn’t going to be an easy horse to handle but it was decided to buy Romeo anyway to save him from his terrible faith. Romeo was purchased in 2003 by Alexandra’s father for himself and for Alexandra as a second horse. In the beginning, Romeo was very traumatized but after a short period of time he did a complete turnaround. Since then, Romeo never had a bad day and is literally always in a good mood. He and Rembrandt became real close friends which helped Romeo a lot in overcoming his trauma. Romeo's nickname is Goofy because despite his advanced age he still jumps around like a youngster and plays all day.
Big Mama | Leader of the herd
Grace is André’s personal horse. She was purchased in 2013 as a safe 7-year-old horse that would help André become a great rider. He likes to joke that he traded his motorcycle and sports car for her. Grace is a very affectionate and gentle horse. Despite her size, she is one of the safest horses there is. She inherited the nickname “Big Mama” because she looks out for the rider on her back, but also because she is the undisputed boss of the herd. Grace decides where everybody moves, who’s allowed in the shelter and she will place herself between other horses if they get into a fight. Extremely brave, she will do whatever it takes to protect her herd and family.
Seppi, The brain
The first thing that always comes to mind when we see Seppi is “good old little boy”. We don’t know his date of birth but we do know he’s already passed his mid 20’s. Seppi’s might be small but he’s not to be underestimated as he is for sure the most intelligent horse in our barn—or at least the one who uses his intelligence the most to do sneaky things. His daily goal is to get into the food storage room. He manages to open doors all kinds, runs very quickly underneath the electric fence and recklessly pushes things aside to reach his goal. When we catch him, he always acts very proud, with a grin on his face. Like Grace, he joined our family in 2013 and immediately stole our hearts. He is too small for us to ride but he will come with us on long walks in the forest. Seppi loves hanging out with the young horses and showing them sneaky tricks. He will make you laugh every day.
Floki had a rough start in life. He was born in 2017 at a barn that breeds race horses and for unknown reasons he ended up at a slaughter auction near Ottawa at only 18 months old. This is where we first saw him: standing in a dark corner, noticeably malnourished, deep bleeding wounds on all fours legs, head held low like he had given up on life. When he came into the auction ring and we realized only kill buyers were bidding on him, we decided to bid ourselves and bring this little boy home. Floki was very shy at first and spent most of his time in a corner of his stall, but once we brought Seppi in his pasture, the two of them bonded immediately and Floki gained in confidence. He was able to join the rest of the herd soon after. He still gets scared from time to time, especially in tight spaces, but a few words of reassurance are usually enough to help him to get over his fears. Floki is kind and friendly, and loves cuddles. We’ve stopped asking ourselves why he ended up that auction and simply enjoy the fact that he is now with us.
The Devil’s Pearl
In 2018, on our way to go shopping for Alexandra’s birthday gift, we decided to take a detour and attend a meat auction. We noticed tiny Pearl from afar, barely over a year old. Although she was very cute to us when we approached her, we also saw her attack other people over the fence. Most probably the reason why only kill buyers were interested in her. Seeing an immense potential in this little lady, we bid and brought her home. She got her name because instead of buying pearl earrings for Alexandra, we bought this wonderful horse. During her first week with us she showed loads of character, she even chased André out of her paddock. To save himself he ran and jumped over a huge fence. He was surprised at how athletic he can be! Needless to say this got her nicknamed “Devil’s Pearl”. Once we started working with her, she quickly displayed more trust and eventually completely stopped attacking people. Funny enough, Pearl is now such great horse that she’s our first pick to be taken out for guests to take pictures. She loves attention and occasionally reminds us more of a dog. She’d probably follow us around all day and come into the house if we’d let her.
In March 2019, we travelled to Ohio to attend a massive Draft Cross horse auction where about 1,500 horses are sold in a week’s time. This particular auction is an exchange of riding and driving horses; it is not considered a meat auction. Some of the horses going through this auction ring are sold for a lot of money. Even though we had an eye on a particular horse, we weren’t 100% sure we’d buy something, but we wanted to take part in this event and to see all those beautiful horses. We’ll never forget the first time we saw Moana —her beauty stunned us! We ended up buyer her as well as King and they travelled together to Canada. Moana is one of those horses everybody loves. From the moment we met her, she’s been friendly and in a good mood. Don’t be fooled by her heavy-boned body, she loves to run and she is fast. We sometimes call her miniature Grace because of her calm, strong and brave character. We’re very proud that she is ours and both of us enjoy riding her. Moana was born in 2012.
King or Kaiser
Since deciding it was time for Rembrandt to enjoy retirement, Alexandra was always casually looking for another riding horse for herself. She searched online and attended auctions for many years before finding King. He was about to be sold at an auction in Ohio. After chatting with King’s owner, we decided to take the trip. Held once a year, this auction is an exchange of riding, driving and working horses. It is not a meat auction and some horses are sold at a high price. We arrived the day before King was to be sold. Seeing him for the first time was very exciting. He was born, raised and trained by a wonderful Amish family. They showed us everything he can do. Besides his beauty, King is 100% traffic safe, an amazingly safe riding horse and a strong boy trained to pull a carriage. After the official purchase, we couldn’t believe he was ours! He travelled to Canada with Moana, whom we also bought at this auction. It’s funny how he sometimes acts with the pride and strong attitude you’d expect from a true king. Even as a little girl, Alexandra dreamed of owning a Friesian horse. King, being a registered Friesian Sports horse (Friesian X Paint), was more than she ever hoped for. They enjoy going on long trail rides together, reminding Alexandra of her and Rembrandt in the Vienna woods back in the days.