26/01/2010 The Horse Trust Re-opens its Doors and Welcomes in Two Greater Manchester Police Horses

The Horse Trust today announced that it is reopening its doors of its sanctuary, thanks to an increase in donations from the public.

The first horse to benefit from this is Weller, a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) horse who has retired to the sanctuary after 14 years service.

In 2009, The Horse Trust temporarily closed its doors to new horses - apart from emergency welfare cases - due to a drop in public donations during the credit crunch.

"Over the last 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."

Weller arrived at The Horse Trust's Home of Rest for Horses in Speen, Buckinghamshire on Monday.

18 year-old Weller, a 16.2hh black Irish Draught cross, was involved in high-profile police work for GMP during his 14 years service, such as patrolling crime hotspots and crowd control at football matches.

"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.

Weller is retiring to The Horse Trust as he suffers from degenerative coffin joints, which has caused lameness. Mima is delighted that The Horse Trust is able to offer Weller retirement at the sanctuary.

"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's countryside. He deserves it after all his years of hard work," said Mima.

As the number of horses that can be offered retirement at The Home of Rest is limited by space and costs, The Horse Trust has also started offering temporary places to working horses that need to recuperate from an injury.

GMP horse Cicero, a 14 year old, 16.2hh grey Irish Draught, will be living at the sanctuary for the next few months while he recovers from a damaged shoulder ligament.

"We only have small turnout 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.

Greater Manchester Police has one of the busiest mounted police units in the country. It covers the whole of the county and works every day of the year. The mounted officers are used to target crime hotspots and are also seen at many events including demonstrations and the region's many football matches. Horses are also used to search inaccessible areas for missing or wanted people. There are 35 horses in the Greater Manchester Police Mounted Branch, which is based in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester.