28/12/2010 The Horse Trust Announces New Winter Opening Hours for Visitors

From 4 January 2011, The Horse Trust sanctuary in Speen, Buckinghamshire will be introducing its new winter opening hours. The sanctuary will be open to visitors from 2 - 4pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only, rather than being open every day of the week. The new winter opening hours will continue until the start of the Easter holidays on 9 April 2011.

Due to the extreme wintry weather we are now experiencing in the Chiltern Hills the trustees of the charity made the decision to restrict the opening hours on winter week days. Although staff regularly grit and salt the paths around the sanctuary, horses are prone to falling on icy patches, particularly if they wear shoes. The ice also presents a risk to the staff and visitors.

By limiting the opening hours, the grooms will be able to spend even more time with the horses at the sanctuary and hope to focus on more long-term rehabilitation and training work. In addition, on the days when the sanctuary is closed to visitors, staff will be able to focus on other welfare work, such as providing training on horse handling to local police officers.   We will also be welcoming pre-booked groups on Wednesdays which will be a chance to experience a more personal tour of the stables.

"We have monitored visitor numbers over the last few years and felt that restricting our opening hours in winter was the best decision for the benefit of our horses and the safety of our staff and the public.
We will continue to open at the usual time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so people can still visit the sanctuary regularly to meet our horses and learn about the work of the charity," said Jeanette Allen, Chief Executive Officer of The Horse Trust.

The Horse Trust provides lifetime sanctuary for 91 retired working horses, ponies and donkeys from many different backgrounds. Despite the cold weather and their age, most of the sanctuary's residents live outside throughout the winter months. The only horses that are brought into the stables at night are those that have health conditions or need the extra comfort and protection of a stable.

"Most of our horses grow thick coats in the winter and happily live out together in the freezing cold weather, preferring being out in the open with field shelters rather than in their stables. Any horses that need a bit of extra protection and warmth wear rugs," said Shirley Abbott, Yard Manager at The Horse Trust.

For more information on visiting The Horse Trust, go to www.horsetrust.org.uk

The Horse Trust's new winter opening hours are as follows:

Monday - Thursday: Closed
Friday: 2 - 4pm
Saturday: 2 - 4pm
Sunday: 2 - 4pm

To book a tour of the stables please call Lorna on 01494 488464 or email lorna@horsetrust.org.uk