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Home from home for elderly equines

A purpose built “nursing home” for retired and convalescing horses has been set up in the beautiful Welsh countryside

A Welsh sheep farmer and his wife have set up an equine ‘heaven onearth’ for retired and convalescing equines on their 200-acre family farm.

Established in 1998, Will and Sam Workman’s Fedw Equine Retirement and Therapy Centre is located on the edge of the Brecon Beacons in Powys, Wales, and presently homes 41 horses, of which 32 are retired.

“We set up the centre to help cover the costs of running the farm, which has been in Will’s family since 1860,” explains Sam, who has been involved with horses since childhood.

“We were already caring for a number of retired family and friends’ horses and realised that, with our knowledge, land and buildings, we could provide a very specialist type of service.”

The centre now boasts more than 40 stables, plus a solarium, horsewalker and a rubber surfaced outdoor arena, with plans to increase the number of stables next year.

“Every horse has its own stable with shavings and rubber matting, and is turned out each day in groups of twos or threes,” continues Sam. “We try hard to find suitable ‘field buddies’ to avoid kicking and bulling and with more than 200 acres of pasture horses, sheep and the land all benefit.”

Individual care

Sam and Will employ two full-time and one part-time member of staff, as well as having hands on roles themselves.

The horse’s welfare must come first – nothing is more important to us. We have the full backing of our local vet, who visits regularly and is always on hand to advise us if necessary. All the horses are fed supplements depending on their needs and are regularly attended by the farrier, dentist and chiropractor.”

All owners of retired and convalescing horses are required to sign a livery contract, although ownership remains with the owner who can visit their horse as often or as infrequently as they like.

“We have livery owners who live in Singapore, America and Jersey who aren’t able to see their horses regularly, although in general we encourage owners to visit as frequently as possible,” says Sam.

“We have fabulous hacking and some owners visit every weekend. We also organise regular owners’ events, including a show in the summer, a Christmas party and an open day in the spring, so owners who don’t live locally can get to know each other.”

Since being set up four years ago, the centre has flourished and is now filled to capacity with a waiting list of horses wanting to join the centre.

“We believe the best advert for our centre is our horses – happy horses make happy owners. Above everything, the horses always come first.”

If youwould like to find out more about the centre visit www.equineretirement.co.uk or call (tel: 01874 636388).

Read expert advice on caring for elderly equines:

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