Charity ‘overwhelmed’ by rug donations following Storm Frank

  • The founder of an equestrian charity badly affected by this winter’s floods has said he has been “overwhelmed” by people’s kindness.

    Horseback UK, based in Aberdeenshire, was hit by Storm Frank over New Year, leaving their arenas, stables and fields under water.

    Arena floods“It was pretty brutal,” charity co-founder Jock Hutchison told H&H.

    “We are used to bad weather, but it had rained for about 10 days non-stop when that storm came in.

    “It brought so much rain so quickly.”

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    The 37 horses who live at Horseback UK’s Aboyne base all live out and their rugs had become saturated from the constant downpour.

    The charity put out a call asking for any spare rugs, which was shared more than 700 times.

    “We have never had such a response to any post, and we are in a state of grateful disbelief,” the charity posted on Facebook.

    “If ever we needed our faith in human nature bolstered, we got it yesterday.

    “Words are inadequate to express how moved we are, and how overwhelmed by your kindness and goodness.”

    Jock told H&H that a “small mountain” of rugs arrived from individuals and businesses and that he was “really touched”.

    As well as donating rugs, members of the community have offered practical help for the charity.

    Jock said that one evening, a man with a tractor turned up and cleared their drains to allow the floodwater to flow away.

    “That has helped the place to get back to normal,” he added.

    “It is still bad, but it is a lot better.”

    Roundpen floodsThe charity helps serving military personnel and veterans, who have suffered acute stress or injury, by introducing them to horses.

    Founded by Jock and his wife, Emma, in 2008, the organisation was given charitable status in 2009.

    The charity is also supported by Help For Heroes.

    Wider impact

    The impact of the flooding is still being felt across the UK, particularly in the north and Scotland.

    Thousands of people have been affected and H&H has reported on a number of rural communities that have been hit.

    Meanwhile, racing was abandoned at Ayr yesterday (Monday, 11 January) and Wetherby, which cancelled its Christmas meet (26-27 December), also called off racing on 8 January.

    Fakenham’s fixture that was due to go ahead today (Tuesday, 12 January) will not go ahead and racing at Newcastle tomorrow (Wednesday, 13 January) is also cancelled.

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