A Scottish riding instructor who has been organising a fundraising effort to save horses caught up in the troubles in Zimbabwe has told Horse & Hound Online that the first two loads have reached South Africa safely.

Twenty-eight horses are now at a rehoming centre in Pretoria. Another load is expected laterthis month.

Organiser Kirsten Harris said: “It’s taken two to three weeks to get them here from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. There’s been a lot of problems with paperwork, veterinary tests and vaccinations which have to take place to control diseases in wildlife in Africa.”

Kirsten became involved in the project to rescue the horses via friends in Zimbabwe where horses were being left to starve or were shot by vets to put them out of misery after farmers were evicted from their land.

“It’s been amazing what has been achieved by a group of women getting together by e-mail. Everybody knows somebody in the team that has put this together, with people in Harare, Bulawayo and South Africa,” said Kirsten.

“It was the fundraisingin Britain which made it happen. We raised £20,000 and got another £2,000 from the ILPH.

“The rescue operation is in communication with the South African Horse Trust, which has links with the ILPH. The horses are being rehomed according to the league’s guidelines.”

If you want to help this fundraising mission: The Zimbabwe Horse Rescue Fund, c/o 21, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, EH2 4DS.