10/08/2010 The Horse Trust Launches One-to-One Horse Sponsorship Scheme

The Horse Trust has today launched a personalised horse sponsorship scheme, which enables individuals or companies to sponsor the full costs of looking after a horse at the sanctuary.

Unlike horse adoption schemes run by other charities, The Horse Trust is only looking for one sponsor for each horse. Each sponsor will be asked to pay around £3,000 annually.

Sponsors will be sent regular updates and photos of their horse and can visit their horse at the sanctuary, getting a personal tour from a member of staff.

"At present The Horse Trust is unable to run a general horse adoption scheme as our very lean administrative team would be unable to handle the vast task of sending out regular updates to hundreds of sponsors.  This scheme is targeted at horse lovers who are able to commit to a larger annual payment and would like a more personal relationship with the horse they're sponsoring," said Susan Lewis, Marketing and Fundraising Manager at The Horse Trust.

The scheme’s first sponsor is Victoria Casey, who lives in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. After a visit to the Horse Trust she was determined to sponsor ‘Red’, one of the ponies rescued from Spindles Farm, Amersham.

Of the more then 100 horses, ponies and donkeys rescued from Spindles Farm in January 2008, the 14 considered most ‘at-risk’ were taken to The Horse Trust at Speen This group were too weak to travel further and required extensive veterinary treatment to help them recover. 

Victoria, who has two rescue horses at her home in Australia, first heard about the Spindles Farm rescue in Spring 2008. She followed the court case over the next year and in Autumn 2009, during a business trip to UK, visited The Horse Trust to meet some of the Spindles Farm horses. Matthew, one of the charity's grooms, introduced her to Red.

Red, a 14.2hh, older gelding, was severely underweight when he arrived at The Horse Trust. He gained 71kg in his first four months at the sanctuary and is now in good health, although he is still shy around humans.

 “When I stood at his stable door Red promptly turned his back on me and moved to the far corner," said Victoria. "The fact that he did not seek out the casual touch of a stranger was perfectly understandable given what he must have endured in the pens at Spindles Farm."

"After that unimaginable experience, I didn't want him to be loaded on a truck again and to have to adjust to a new environment. So many people were appalled by the case, yet in sponsoring Red I feel I have done something positive for the ‘victims’. I wanted Red to remain where he feels secure, with the equine friends he's made since his rescue," said Victoria. 

Victoria describes Red as a "modern day Black Beauty", because of his "greatly fallen circumstances and happy ending". Unlike the majority of the Spindles Farm horses, Red had a passport so an earlier owner could be traced, who said Red had been part of her family and had competed in various championships.

As well as sponsoring Red for the remainder of his life, Victoria has chosen to sponsor another Spindles Farm horse, partially blind mare Angel, for six months, in the hope that this will provide enough time for another sponsor to be found and for her to be able to stay.

"I did not actually meet Angel during my visit, but was familiar with her story. She too has found sanctuary at The Horse Trust and I hope that someone else will be able to ensure that she can stay there by supporting the costs of her care" said Victoria. “Each of these horses has a sorry tale to tell. What is important now is for us to provide them with a secure future. We owe them that.”