World Horse Welfare has launched an appeal for donations to improve the lives of working horses in South Africa.

The equine charity aims to raise more than £98,000 to teach skills such as farriery and harness-making to poverty stricken owners living in Soweto, a Johannesburg township.

Ian Kelly, director of international training at World Horse Welfare, said: “The people who own horses in Soweto aren’t cruel but they lack the basic horse care knowledge.

The new skills our students are taught will last them a life time. As each student passes on his skills to more people eager to learn from them, more horses will live free from unnecessary pain.”

The charity hopes the training will free more than 3,000 horses from the hunger and exhaustion sustained by working long hours and living in the dirt and mud of scrap heaps.

A set of farriery and saddlery tools will be given to each student to allow them to look after their horses at home.

The charity hopes this will reduce the number of wounds caused by poorly braking carts and harnesses repaired with wire.

Themba Tshabalala, one of the first students to enrol on the programme, said the training has changed the way he looks after his horses.

“I now know about hoof care and how to spot problems early,” he said.

To make a donation, call 0800 458 4727 or visit www.worldhorsewelfare.org/help-tomorrow/south-africa.