The Horse Trust will be reopening its doors to horses after receiving increased donations from the public.
A drop in donations during the credit crunch last year had forced the charity to only take in emergency welfare cases.
But now following donations totalling £55,000 the Horse Trust is able to start welcoming in horses, as well as offering short-term respite.
“Over the past few months, we’ve had a great response to our appeal for donations. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us during this difficult period,” said Paul Jepson, chief executive of The Horse Trust.
“We are delighted that we can now reopen our doors to offer a secure and happy retirement to horses from various backgrounds.”
The first horse to be welcomed to the sanctuary since the centre’s reopening is 18-year-old Weller, a Greater Manchester Police horse who has retired from the force.
The 16.2hh part-bred Irish Draught cross arrived at the centre in Speen, Buckinghamshire yesterday (Monday 25 January.)
During Weller’s 14 years of service, he patrolled crime hotspots and helped with crowd control at football matches.
Weller has retired as he suffers from degenerative coffin joints, causing lameness.
“Weller is lovely horse to work with and knows his job inside out. He’s a very chirpy character — he’s always keen to get going and enjoys his work,” said Mima Manning, stable manager at Greater Manchester Police.
“Our horses spend much of their lives stabled or out in the concrete jungle of Manchester. It’s fantastic that The Horse Trust can offer Weller a place where he’ll have access to paddocks in the lovely Chiltern countryside. He deserves it after all his years of hard work,” she added.
The Horse Trust has also started offering temporary places to working horses that need to recuperate from an injury.
Another Greater Manchester Police horse will be living at the sanctuary for a few months while he recovers from a damaged shoulder ligament.
Cicero is a 14-year-old, 16.2hh grey Irish Draught.
“We only have small paddocks so can’t turnout horses 24/7. At The Horse Trust, Cicero will be able to rest while being on the move, giving him the best chance of recovering fully from his injury,” said Mima.
Susan Lewis from The Horse Trust added: “We are now able to offer recuperation for working horses — who don’t have turnout in central city locations — which is how The Horse Trust started.
“We are currently working on a month-by-month basis, but the public have made a phenomenal effort and now we can help horses in lots of different ways.”
For more information or to make a donation tel: 01494 488464 or visit: www.horsetrust.org.uk.