New service launched for owners struggling to care for their horses

  • Owners struggling to care for their horses have been encouraged to reach out for help “before situations spiral out of control”, as a new compassionate advice and support service is launched.

    World Horse Welfare has created the Help for Horse Owners initiative, with the aim of “preventing serious welfare cases by providing early intervention”.

    Owners can request a support call from World Horse Welfare and use the online resources hub, which gives details of organisations that can provide advice on things such as financial challenges and debt, or poor mental or physical health.

    “Many people know our charity rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes horses in need throughout Britain. What they may not be aware of is that a large part of the work that our field officers do on a daily basis is helping owners to better care for their horses,” said Sam Chubbock, World Horse Welfare’s head of UK support.

    “Owners and their families often approach us for help when their circumstances have changed, meaning they are struggling to provide the necessary care. However, we also understand how difficult it can be to ask for help — which is why we have developed our Help for Horse Owners support service.”

    Ms Chubbock added that the charity’s focus is trying to keep families and their animals together when this is the best option for them in the long term.

    “We do this in a variety of ways, including helping horse owners change their management practices or signposting them to other areas of support they might not know about” she said.

    A World Horse Welfare spokesman said winter can be particularly difficult for owners, and the cost-of-living crisis means keeping horses is “ever more challenging”.

    “Owners may already have found that they can no longer cope. Some make sacrifices in other areas of their lives so they can care for their horses, but, if the situation is further complicated by other matters such as ill health, advancing age or a change in personal circumstances this can tip them into an increasingly difficult and desperate spiral,” he said.

    “In addition to requesting a support call and using the resources hub, our UK-wide network of field officers can make in-person visits to assess situations and provide hands-on practical advice.”

    Owner Jo contacted World Horse Welfare when she found herself struggling to care for her ponies when she became ill.

    “I was in a real pickle and called World Horse Welfare for advice. I spoke to a lovely lady on the phone and she arranged a visit from Penny, who came to meet me and the ponies. I can’t say how helpful she was, she didn’t judge me but explained the various options and was there for me to talk through each one,” said Jo.

    “She made several visits, getting to know me and the ponies, and her gentle support finally helped me decide what was the best option for each of my ponies. Without a doubt everyone at World Horse Welfare was as compassionate to me as to my ponies at a difficult time.”

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