Horses ‘hayven’ in Waterfall

2016-10-04 06:00
 Photo: supplied Louise Ann Mitchell on one of her four-legged friends.

Photo: supplied Louise Ann Mitchell on one of her four-legged friends.

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AT the age of three, Waterfall resident Louise Ann Mitchell developed a passion for horses and as a child she had dreams of owning a horse.

Because of this passion for four-legged animals and with the assistance of her parents, she opened the Hayven Animal Rescue and Waterfall Equestrian Centre, both of which care for and rehabilitate animals.

Speaking about her passion, Mitchell told the Fever she bought her first horse at the age of 12.

“With a bit of inheritance I managed to buy my first horse. His name was Prince Mahaal. He was an amazing horse and looked after me so well and taught me so much about horses and understanding them.

“I always help animals wherever I can and my family have always taken in animals in need, giving them a new life of love and hope. My parents have been very supportive of my rescue and assist wherever they can,” she said.

Mitchell completed an equine studies course when she was 16 and went on to take trail rides in a game reserve. She then offered riding lessons for many years and assisted the stable yard manager wherever she could.

Mitchell was also the national coach for the special Olympics equestrian team for two years.

After 11 years of teaching at the riding school and private lessons, she moved to Waterfall and formed the Hayven Animal Rescue.

“I started Hayven Animal Rescue nine years ago and was mostly doing re-homing of cats and dogs and taking in horses, birds, reptiles, exotics where needed.

“I then heard about how mini-ponies were put on auction in the Free State and were sold and taken to Lesotho for meat. With the help of Bev Sterrett from Outlaw Farm in Fouriesburg, we managed to get quite a few out and re-homed. There were quite a few we couldn’t save and had to put down.

“I unfortunately, could not do it any more due to lack of funds. The purchase of them and the transport down to me is very expensive. It breaks my heart that I cannot help them anymore.

“Maybe one day, when funds start coming in from the riding school, I will start this initiative again,” said Mitchell.

Shortly after this Mitchell opened the Waterfall Equestrian Centre.

“With the rescue horse and ponies here I decided to open a riding school so they can help fund themselves, and others in need.

“There are two other ladies, who have stepped in to assist with lessons and taking outrides, Hailey Gunter and Jaide Caldwell, who I am eternally grateful to.”

Mitchell said the only benefit she gets from her organisation is to see the happiness of rescue animal being placed in their new loving home.

“I aim to teach the public that all animals need to be properly cared for, loved and fed, and we need to stop the breeding. There are too many animals dying in shelters due to overpopulation. Why should an animal die just for being born?

“My main focus is the rescues, making sure they have everything they need, feel loved, and are placed in the correct homes.”

Mitchell advises the public when adopting an animal.

“When adopting or buying an animal, make sure you have the funds for medical care and do your homework on the specific needs of the animal. There are plenty of organisation’s around that will assist you as well.”

She thanked everyone who has supported her over the years and said a special thank you to her son Matthew, who always helps with the animals, and her fiancé Llumé Geel.

For more information on the Waterfall Equestrian Centre or to donate tack, grooming equipment, poles and uprights, aviaries and cages, email

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