16/06/2011 The Horse Trust Holds 125th Anniversary Horse Parade and Unveils Plans for the Home of Rest

Equine charity The Horse Trust last week held a horse parade at its sanctuary in Speen, Buckinghamshire to celebrate its 125th anniversary. The charity has also unveiled its ambitious plans for the sanctuary, which include a new isolation and quarantine block, intensive care boxes and a Horse Walker.

On Wednesday 8 June afternoon, The Horse Trust held a parade with over 50 horses, including active working horses from the Thames Valley Mounted Police, Household Cavalry, the Army's Defence Animal Centre, Light Cavalry and Horse Rangers Association, as well their retired colleagues and rescue horses that are living at the sanctuary. The parade was attended by approximately 160 committed supporters of the charity and was followed by a traditional afternoon tea, including homemade cakes and sandwiches.

"I had a wonderful afternoon at The Horse Trust and greatly enjoyed the parade of horses and afternoon tea. It was amazing to see the variety of horses that live at the sanctuary and to see how well and happy the Spindles Farm rescue horses are looking now," said supporter Mrs Amanda Heins, who lives in Mississippi, USA. 

The parade of horses included Simba, a 11-year-old 13.2hh bay gelding mule, who is currently working as a pack mule at the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray. He is involved in training soldiers to learn about mule transportation, which is used by the Army in inhospitable parts of Afghanistan where vehicles or helicopters cannot be used.

The parade also included Elizabeth, who is currently working as the Charger of the Princess Royal, The Horse Trust's patron. Elizabeth, a 10-year-old 16.2hh cavalry black horse, has taken part in many state occasions, including the Royal Wedding in April and last week's Trooping the Colour.

Army horse Rocket Ron, a 14-year-old 17.1hh brown gelding, was officially welcomed during the parade as a new resident at the sanctuary. Rocket Ron joined the Army in February 2002 and began his career as a Charger in the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery. He only lasted until early 2004 as he disliked being on parade and would rear, kick out and refuse to stand still. He was redeployed to the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray to be used for riding training where he remained until last week. Rocket Ron has retired to The Horse Trust as he has chronic girth galls so is unable to do the work required .

At the parade, The Horse Trust also unveiled its ambitious plans for the sanctuary and launched a £1 million appeal - The Horse Trust Home of Rest Appeal - to pay for the work. The charity has been based at the farm in Speen, Buckinghamshire for the past 40 years and over this period the buildings and infrastructure have become dilapidated.

The charity urgently needs to do maintenance work to the stables, barns and buildings and also plans to enhance its equine facilities.

Planned enhancements include: • A new clinic including a pharmacy and "mini" laboratory. The laboratory will be used for various purposes, including worm analysis and education. • An isolation and quarantine block - this will be a major upgrade to the current isolation paddock. This facility ensures that new arrivals do not pass on infectious diseases, such as Strangles, to other residents. • Intensive care boxes - these will be used for horses that are seriously ill. The boxes will be more equipped for procedures and will include CCTV to allow 24-hour monitoring of horses that are ill. Last year, Spindles Farm rescue horse Duke was seriously ill with colic for a number of weeks and received treatment in his stable as no intensive care box was available. • A Horse Walker - this will be used for a variety of ailments, including horses that have arthritic conditions and benefit from gentle movement, horses that are on respite, and elderly horses that have gained weight. • A large sand paddock for laminitics - the charity's current sand paddock is only suitable for donkeys and ponies. The paddock enables staff to manage laminitics by limiting their consumption of grass. • Classroom, teaching aids and training facilities • New loose boxes - within five years, The Horse Trust will need to replace all of its 86 loose boxes. The original stables were only expected to last for 40 years and require regular repairs as they are at the end of their lifespan.

To find out more about The Horse Trust Home of Rest Appeal, please contact 01494 488464 or info@horsetrust.org.uk.