View horse charity Christmas cards 2008

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If you would like to do something to help those less fortunate than yourself during the Christmas break, but don’t fancy spending Christmas Day at your local soup kitchen, then consider some of these suggestions as an alternative.

If you have some free time on your hands, try contacting your local equine charity to offer hands-on help during the Christmas break. Many riding for the disabled (RDA) centres hold fund raising events during December and welcome voluntary help and support. Contact RDA headquarters (tel: 0845 658 1082) for details of your local group.

Welfare charities that welcome hands-on assistance from volunteers include The Home Of Rest For Horses in Bucks, which welcomes volunteers all year round. The Blue Cross is also looking for volunteers, visit www.bluecross.org.uk for more details.

Look out for charity shows and events being held in your area and go along to compete, or contact the organisers in advance to ask if they need any assistance on the day. If they don’t need any help, and the event isn’t suitable for you to take part with your horse, then go along on foot to support the cause.

Click here to view a list of charitable events >>

Have a “spring clean” of your tack room to sort out any serviceable bits of equipment you no longer need and donate them to a charity, such as Redwings Horse Sanctuary, which currently needs tack and turnout rugs. Contact (tel: 0870 040 0033 or 01508 481000). The Home Of Rest For Horses also welcomes donations of equine equipment (tel: 01494 488464), as does Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre (tel: 01403 791916).

Most equine welfare charities need knowledgeable loan homes for rehabilitated horses and ponies. If you think you have the necessary experience, time and facilities to re-home a horse from a charity then get in touch with The Blue Cross, ILPH, Redwings or one of the three Retraining of Racehorses centres.

If re-homing a horse is too much of a commitment, then a number of charities offer an adoption scheme, whereby the horse remains with the charity and your money helps to provide the expert care it requires. Visit ILPH Adopt A Horse for details of one such scheme. Redwing Horse Sanctuary also runs an adoption scheme, as does the The Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys.

Alternatively, get together with some friends and organise your own festive charity event. If you have a ménage or indoor school then fancy dress clear-round jumping, or gymkhana games (yes for adults too!) might prove popular. If you don’t have a school what about organising a group hack, with or without fancy dress, where all riders make a donation, or have an evening get together with mince pies and mulled wine.

If your local riding club is running an event, such as a training session or show in the run up to Christmas, suggest introducing an optional extra charge per person, which can be donated to a charity of the club’s choice.

If you are on a DIY livery yard, offer to muck out for the other liveries over the Christmas break in return for donations, which you can give to your favourite charity.

Or, if this all sounds a bit too much like hard work you can support your favourite charity by purchasing cards and gifts from its Christmas catalogue. Visit:

  • Please send your suggestions of ways to support equine charities this Christmas to hheditor@ipcmedia.com