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We would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new subscribers and to thank our regular subscribers for your support. 

What has our equine welfare officer been up to? 

November brought about a multitude of calls. We assisted two young boys, whom were looking to be responsible relinquish a pony, that they were keeping in their garden. Bought at just £10.00 Wilber Wiberforce, got himself a secure future with our assistance and the wonderful Bransby Horses and Lluest Horse and pony trust. 

 

 

William Wilberforce
The latest lucky pony to be given a secure future. Communities For Horses was contacted on Tuesday by a horse owner, who alerted us to a foal that was owned by two 12 year old boys in the Swansea area.

Doing the responsible thing they, along with another horse owner, contacted Communities For Horses as an appropriate registerd charity to assist them with safeguarding his future by relinquishing him. We named him Wilber, after William Wilberforce who had a key role in ending the slave trade in the UK and who set up the RSPCA.
We are unable to take in horses at the moment - our focus is on prevention through education as a sustainable approach to improving equine welfare. We therefore sought the assistance of organisations that do rescue and re-homing to assist us in securing his future.
The good news is that we have managed to secure a temporary placement for Wilber at Lluest Horse and Pony Trust, until there is a suitable home or placement for him at Bransby Horses. Bransby Horses will cover all costs associated with Wilber, which is amazing and we are most grateful to have the support from, and excellent working relationships with, both charities - enabling little ponies just like Wilber to have appropriate care and eventually a forever home.
He will be microchipped and passported, have his hooves trimmed as they were very overgrown, he will receive vaccinations, worming treatments and be castrated when he is mature enough.
We are a registerd charity working in the horse owning communities of Swansea and the surrounding areas providing a vital support network for horse owners and communities. Wilber was purchased for just £10.00. Your support, enables us to do this vital work in our area, providing #support-education-change in these communities

Hoof Prints, Horsemanship and Hammers

 
Every interaction with a horse owner is a positive one. Most recently whilst out in the community, on a day where temperatures stayed in single figures, the sun splitting the sky, we knew that there would be owners enjoying the weather with their horses. Only 2 minutes from pulling into the estate, there it was - the unmissable flow of water and bubbles. In most of the communities we operate in when the sun is out, so is the hose and washing up liquid and it’s not dishes they are washing, it their horses.
Low and behold, we have Shetland and a coloured cob, getting the sunny bath, despite it being freezing cold.  A loosely tied rope around the Shetland’s neck and a very low placed head collar on the cob. Even more disturbing, was the nylon rope tied to the rings on the headcollar, as a make shift bit!  For additional support there was an all important hammer. These horses were not tethered locally, so the need for a hammer! Well, I leave that up to you.
Attack is the best form of defence!  -  Not always.
We are not a welcome sight for some owners, as I am sure you can imagine, with neighbours and onlookers, becoming desensitised and accepting bad horsemanship as normal behaviour, they don’t report any misdemeanours or challenge the behaviour of others, especially if this is the norm. The reasoning behind it is that it is so difficult to prove and they have lived in these communities, sometimes it just not worth the bother, pull the curtains and look away.
Within the codes of practice there are guidelines that relate to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 Section 9(2)c the need to exhibit normal behaviour patterns.
“Training 3.2. Any behavioural intervention can have both intended and unintended consequences for horses and should not be brought about without careful consideration and advice from an experienced horse professional.
3.3. Horse training should be humane, effective and safe for both horse and handler. Horses do not perform unwanted behaviours intentionally to defy their handlers; usually there is an underlying reason such as pain, discomfort, fear or habit (the behaviour has been learnt because it has been rewarded, often accidentally, in some way). A reward can be the release of pressure on a head collar, or increasing distance between a horse and something it finds fearful. It is important to understand the behavioural needs of horses so that you can try and identify the cause of the behaviour, rather than label the horse as “naughty”. Any training should be appropriate to the age, experience and condition of the animal in question. If you are unsure how to best handle your horse, advice should be sought from an experienced horse professional.”
3.4. It is an offence to cause an animal unnecessary suffering and this includes psychological suffering. Intervention or punishment intended to suppress an unwanted behaviour should only be delivered immediately so it is directly linked to the behaviour in question. Punishment can cause psychological distress to the horse and may induce fear, which you may then become associated with. Using a whip inappropriately to suppress unwanted behaviour may also cause pain, affect learning and/or stop the horse trialling new responses. You should not beat your horse or use other inappropriate punishments.
3.5. Any restraint method used to assist normal management or treatment of the horse should be applied by a competent person only, and for the minimum period necessary. If a horse’s behaviour warrants the use of a restraint method such as a twitch, consideration should be given to retraining the horse so that it no longer requires the restraint method. The horse’s psychological state and the potential to develop a long-lasting fear response whilst restrained must be taken into account.  Sedatives must be prescribed by a vet and only used under their guidance

 
For this owner, my rocking up on a sunny morning was not what was wanted, so the general, tongue in check abuse happens, to which I shrug and laugh it off, not always the best thing to do, but we have been having interactions with this particular owner for more than 10 years. “Why are you always picking on me?”- trying to deflect their behaviour by the others and what they do and how cruel it is. I took it all in my stride, my focus remaining the nylon rope going through the cob’s mouth and the hammer. After the heckles and testosterone had subsided, we had a civil discussion about rope burns and appropriate lead ropes, still not mentioning the rope going through the horse’s mouth, to keep the handler calm. Fortunately, I carry a stock of donated and new items in the car, a lovely soft lead rope with shinny clip. So, without delay I set about, attaching the lead rope to the headcollar, at which point I made my awareness of the rope going through the horses mouth very distasteful and that there was no room for cutting corners in horsemanship.  If such a method had to be used for control, then we at Communities For Horses could provide the owner with a bit, that could be used. However, no amount of biting, makes up for good handling, without fear, which is where the hammer comes in. 
We then went on to discuss humane methods of handling and pre-planning for when you’re about to do a task such as bathing a horse. Having the appropriate environment and equipment ready, will prevent you from looking like a cruel fool and a true horseman. Something that every horse person aspires to be, to grow and learn, being caught red handed, literally by a welfare officer, makes for a memory. What we did and do is make those memories lessons – ones that will not be forgotten. 
I have no doubt in my mind that this particular owner will not be using a nylon rope as bit in future, due the to complete and utter embarrassment that they felt when they had been caught. The once know it all horseman had been proven to be, not so good horseman and controlling a horse with pain and fear is not nice full stop. Being made aware of this in front of others, in an unchallenging way, allows the horse owner to actually excel in their knowledge and aspire for better.
Many people will disagree with the way in which we work, but going in heavy handed does not change the behaviour, it just makes a challenging situation potentially volatile, which can then lead to even worse behaviour. The way in which we work, allows people to realise the outcome of their actions, in context, a much better outcome for the human and horse alike.  
There is no need for hammers in horsemanship, unless you’re a farrier. 

 

Equine table top sale 

23rd November, Three Crosses Community Centre. SA4 3QJ. 
 

Due to unforeseen circumstances this event had to be postponed. 

Communities For Horses is a member of The British Horse Council and a General Election manifesto has been produced by the British Horse Council to make all the candidates aware of pressing issues in the industry. You can take a look now, before it gets delivered to the candidates here.
http://www.britishhorsecouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/British-Horse-Sector-Manifesto-v2.pdf

 
 







 

Use Your Vote  


The up and coming elections . (Sorry) 

Communities For Horses is a member of the British Horse Council, we attend meetings where we work collaboratively with members of the equine industry to make the UK a better place for horses and those involved in equine industries. 
We’re all aware that there are many important issues that need addressing but to ensure that we get heard we have created a briefing document that is a snappy distilled version of the many aspects of our world which are important
As you might imagine, there are a number of pressing challenges at the forefront of parliamentary candidates’ minds in the run up to this election, so we have decided to be concise and punchy in our messaging. We wanted candidates to be aware of two things; firstly, that our sector is sizeable and valuable and, secondly, that we need support from our elected representatives

Find Out More

How can you support us? 



You can support us whilst you do your shopping! On Amazon Smile UK, just enter Communities For Horses as your chosen charity and Amazon will donate. 0.5% of the value of your order directly to us. The cost of your product does not change. 
https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/1180625-0 

 
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Thank you to our regular donors Sarah Smith, Holly Thomas, Jenni Nellist and Liam Millinship for thier regular donations. We would also like to welcome Sally Lovegrove, whom has also become a regular donor. The donations that we receive enable us to cover some of the costs associated with attending welfare calls. Many of the calls that we attend allow us to change the welfare status of the horses for the better - whether the horse is compromised regarding mental, environmental or physical welfare.

To support us in making changes, you too can help. To donate please go to
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To offer support by means of volunteering, please contact us. enquiries@communitiesforhorses.org
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Communities For Horses · 8 The Beacon · Dafen · Llanelli, Wales SA14 8LQ · United Kingdom

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