An insight from one of our Trustees - Daniel Towers
I am proud to be a trustee of Communities For Horses. I have no background in matters equine, and am a software engineer by trade. So, you may well ask, why are you a trustee of an Equine welfare charity? I first met Lisa, who is the driving force behind CFH, when my daughter became a beneficiary of the services offered by a local charity called the Community Horse and Pony Scheme (C.H.A.P.S). She was having a tough time in school, and C.H.A.P.S allowed her the opportunity to spend time with these majestic animals, and to learn to care for them. This regular contact, and the kind and caring environment promoted by Lisa, the other staff and volunteers became a real support to my daughter through a difficult period.
Unfortunately, the trustees managing C.H.A.P.S decided to dissolve the charity, and this valuable work came to an end; along with all the other benefits offered by the charity to the local community. At this point Lisa, determined not to let down those people and animals in the local community depending on the service of the charity, began the long an difficult process of setting up a new charity to continue with the work. I was approached and asked if I would consider being a trustee of the new charity, as I understood the value of the work, not just in the interests of the animals whose welfare was being improved, but also the human benefit. I was slightly concerned at my lack of equine knowledge, but at the end of the day, the paradigm behind the charity was something I could get behind enthusiastically.
For me, communities for horses is so much more than just an equine welfare charity. I believe that we, as human beings, have a responsibility to care for this world we have been given to live in, and to treat all living things with care, dignity and respect – and CFH certainly provides support, education, care, and where necessary, routes to enforcement to ensure that horses are well cared for. But more importantly, I also believe we have a responsibility to care for each other. CFH helps people as much as it helps horses. It’s in the name – Communities (which is the people bit) for Horses (which is the horse bit). Urban horse ownership often goes hand in hand with some of our most vulnerable and marginalised members of society and their communities. This puts CFH in a unique position to build relationships and trust with these communities, and to gain access where other public bodies find it difficult to offer any real help. CFH has real potential to impact on the lives and welfare of people living in these communities for the good, as well as the welfare of their animals.
By providing regular in-community contact, support, education and a listening ear, many people have already been helped, and in turn have been better able to care for their own animals. My observation from my daughter’s involvement with horses is that they have an unrivalled ability to give as much back to people as people give to them. Working with horses, having a responsibility, something living to care for can be a real help to people suffering with depression, anxiety, PTSD or other social or behavioural problems. A horse is an intelligent animal which has the ability to form a relationship of trust with a person. This makes them an invaluable asset in the toolbox of treatments for those suffering with some of these issues.
I am proud to be a trustee of CFH, because it’s dealing with, improving and through education, having a long-term impact on one of our worst local animal welfare problems; and also because it is genuinely improving the lives of local people and the communities that they live in.
I would also like to say that I am delighted to work with the other trustees, staff and volunteers of CFH, who are completely passionate about what they do; and are not only driving things forwards in the Swansea and South Wales area, but are also having an impact nationally and internationally in the equine welfare world. I believe that the paradigm behind CFH is valuable, and worth spreading far and wide, as it is a paradigm that tackles the root causes of these problems through education. This means that hopefully, in the future there will be less need of sanctuaries, and rescues because the animals are being properly cared for in their communities.