Not for Profit

Published: February 23, 2021 | Updated: February 24, 2021

Chelsea and Brandy are among the first rescue horses to try animal charity’s new sand school

Chelsea, an Anglo Arab Cob, in the new sand school at Margaret Green Animal Rescue.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A new sand school made possible by the generosity of two companies will rehabilitate rescue horses at a Dorset animal charity.

Animal Friends Pet Insurance and Petplan contributed £15,000 and £8,000 respectively to the project at Margaret Green Animal Rescue.

It’s allowed the charity to completely rebuild the sand school at its Church Knowle Rehoming and Visitor Centre near Wareham.

The previous sand school had required extensive patching up with sections fenced off and insufficient drainage.

The new area includes a soft surface, allowing horses recovering from injury to start to exercise without concussive pressure on their feet and legs.

It also provides restrictive grazing and helps manage horses’ weight while allowing them to exercise freely.

Over the past few years, Margaret Green Animal Rescue has witnessed an equine welfare crisis.

Many people have taken on horses thinking that they will be able to sell or rehome them if things do not work out.

But often that is not the case.

The charity says most people are unaware of how many horses need homes which can make rehoming difficult, especially if the horse is older or has health or behavioural issues.

The majority of the horses taken in have outstanding, and often long-running issues.

The new sand school will give them a safe, contained space to begin work and recovery.

Kate Wickins, Centre Manager, said: “We are so thankful to receive this funding and be able to now make use of the area.

“It will help rescue horses like Chelsea and Brandy, two Anglo Arab Cobs, who came to us at 14 years old having spent their entire life in the same field with almost no handling.

“They had never worn head collars or been lead in hand, they had also not received routine veterinary checks, farriering or dental care.

“This is quite typical of the equines we are asked to help with.

“These horses needed to learn to wear head collars, be lead in hand and generally accept human handling and interaction.

“Chelsea has progressed very well with us and is now enjoying the new sand school after a new case of Mud Fever which is caused by a variety of bacteria that can thrive in muddy, wet conditions.”

Patricia Gardiner, Chief Marketing Officer at Animal Friends, said: “Following my visit to the centre and seeing first-hand the extensive work needed to the sand school, it was clear that we had to help.

“The work carried out with the horses in the sand school is vital for the process of enabling successful rehabilitation and rehoming.

“With the new funding, MGAR can now provide more horses with a safe space in which they can get the gentle care they need and learn how to trust once again, enabling them to find loving homes for the future.

“MGAR supports all kinds of animals, helping them to find forever homes and Animal Friends is proud to be able to support the incredible work they do in some small way.”

Margaret Green Animal Rescue rehomes and rescues more than 1,200 animals a year.

The charity has three sites – Church Knowle for the rescue and rehoming of cats, field animals, which include horses, donkeys and goats, and small animals such as rabbits and chickens; Lincoln Farm near Blandford for the rescue and rehoming of dogs and Wingletang near Tavistock, Devon, for the rescuing and rehoming of dogs and cats.