Dusty’s journey – rehabilitation of a horse with kissing spines

Today I present you with something slightly different to my usual written blog post… a vlog!

I have made a couple of these before – you can find them on my YouTube channel if you scroll back a little way. They usually end up being longer than I originally intend (and that’s after I cut out all the mistakes).

This one is all about Dusty’s diagnosis with kissing spines and how we have worked with him to improve his condition. Enjoy!



Zoos – good or bad?

As a zoology student I find it incredibly frustrating when people ask me if I want to work in a zoo. The short answer to this question is no, but the long answer would probably include an explanation of what zoology actually is – a study of the physiology, evolution, behaviour and conservation of animals (among other things!)


I have mixed feelings on zoos. My family didn’t visit them much when I was a child; I only have vague recollections of seeing elephants when I was young so when I travelled to Tanzania and Kenya it felt as though I was seeing all of the animals for the very first time.

It was therefore quite ironic that one of the activities for new zoology students in my first week in Manchester was a trip to Chester zoo.


I went with an open mind but no amount of imagination could conjure up the expanses of grassland, or the watering holes where these animals would gather in the wild – the enclosures were small in comparison and I saw animals pacing up and down next to the fencing. It seemed so wrong to have these creatures kept for human entertainment.


However, there is a different side to zoos – they can play an important role in conservation.

Many captive breeding programmes have helped to bring species back from the brink of extinction, and some do release animals back into the wild (although sometimes the offspring are simply sold on to live in other zoos).


They can also serve to educate the general public on the plight facing many animals in the present day, and this in turn could inspire people to change their lifestyle in order to help certain animals (for example checking products for irresponsibly sourced palm oil or reducing energy usage).


Some important research is carried out in zoos. Near the elephant enclosure at Chester zoo there were signs explaining research that is being carried out into EEHV (elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus) – the zoo funds this research, which will hopefully create a vaccine for elephants both in captivity and in the wild.

Despite my views on keeping wild animals in captivity, I do have to admit that zoos could be crucial in saving many endangered species. That doesn’t mean I want to work in one though!


Hello and welcome to Wild Call. This blog will document my experiences and adventures with animals – during my final year of living at home before university I will be aiming to write weekly posts about various subjects including dog agility training, local wildlife, horse riding and keeping parakeets.

About me

My name is Charlotte Page and I am a seventeen year old A-level student (studying maths, biology and chemistry). After my A-levels I hope to study for a degree in zoology – in particular I am interested in animal behaviour, physiology and the conservation of endangered species.

I have two pets of my own – a beautiful lutino cockatiel called Captain Beaky and a border terrier called Rusty.

Captain Beaky was bought for me as a twelfth birthday present – when he first came he was quite nervous around humans and hadn’t been handled much. Slowly over time I accustomed him to being held and now he is very sociable with people, often flying over to me to ask for fuss whilst I am doing my homework.


Rusty came along when I was thirteen, and I trained her myself. Being a terrier, she’s always been a little crazy and we have to be careful about letting her off the lead – once she starts chasing something, there’s no getting through to her! When I was younger I just taught her basic commands, but in the past year or so I have worked on agility with her and have recently begun to teach her some tricks.


I currently live in Norfolk – having only moved here just short of three years ago I have had a fantastic time exploring the woods near my house and seeing wildlife that I had never seen before.

Buzzard 2

The move also brought me much closer to another love of mine – horses. I now ride a handful of different horses for various people – but there are two in particular who will be written about on this blog:

Dusty is a 16.3hh thoroughbred who belongs to my neighbour – I think he is about nine years old but I’m not entirely sure. He is a bit more of a challenge than the other horses I have ridden in the past, (especially when out hacking) but gradually I am learning from him and becoming a better rider.


Leon is 15.1hh; he is only four years old and is quite green when it comes to schooling. He is a rescue from World Horse Welfare so his exact breed isn’t known, but we do have our suspicions that there may be some Arab in there somewhere!


Thank you for reading the introduction to my blog, the first proper post will be up soon – I hope you decide to join me on my adventures.