The Horse Trust is the oldest horse charity in the world. Its founder, Miss Ann Lindo, inspired by the novel Black Beauty, had a vision back in 1886 to give the hackneyed London cab horses a place of retreat to rest and recuperate enabling them to return to work some months later refreshed and nourished. Her work not only gave sanctuary to overworked horses but also supported the working poor of the 19th Century with the provision of a fresh horse to continue with their labours.

Among the supporters of the new Society was HRH Prince Albert and before long, the Duke of Portland, Master of the Royal Household, agreed to become President.

The Home was based at various locations in its early years, in Sudbury from 1886-89, then Acton, West London (1889-1908), before taking over Westcroft Farm at Cricklewood, with 20 acres of open pasture just four miles from Marble Arch. It remained there until 1933, when urban development and a compulsory purchase order forced moves to Borehamwood, Hertfordshire (1933-1971) and finally in 1971 to Speen Farm in the Chiltern Hills between High Wycombe and Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire.



During the First World War the charity helped the patient and faithful horses, whose lives were being sacrificed in the service of our country, by providing the prototype, motorised horse ambulance to help the evacuation of wounded horses from the front line in France. In 2 years the ambulance had carried in excess of 1,000 horses to safety and travelled some 13,000 miles.

While the number of London cab horses declined in the 20th Century, there were still thousands of tradesmen’s horses requiring help and the Home provided rest and recuperation for about 250 horses a year.

The first war veteran of both the Boer and First World War was San Toy, who remained at the Home of Rest for Horses until his death in 1923.

Possibly the Home’s most famous residents were the victims of the 1982 Hyde Park bombing, Sefton, Echo and Yeti, all of whom have since passed away but still live on in the hearts of many.

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