The latest COVID-19 lockdown has delayed World Horse Welfare re-opening its four Visitor Centres until the Easter holiday. Britain’s largest horse rescue and rehoming charity had planned to re-open its centres – which have been closed since the first lockdown in March 2020 – in mid-February. However, following the latest resurgence of the virus and resulting nationwide lockdown, the charity is now aiming to open for Easter.
The Visitor Centres in Norfolk, Somerset, Lancashire and Aberdeenshire at each of the charity’s four Rescue and Rehoming Farms are very popular with both locals and tourists. The centres allow visitors to learn about the work of the charity and meet horses and ponies that are currently being rehabilitated before they are made available for rehoming. The Visitor Centres are also a source of income for the charity which has continued to take in, care for and rehabilitate horses and ponies during the epidemic.
Despite the latest lockdown, which it has been suggested will last until at least mid-February or possibly longer, work at the four farms has not stopped: horses in need are still being taken in and all the horses continue to be looked after on a daily basis by the charity’s dedicated teams of grooms. Anyone who is interested in keeping in touch with what is going on at their favourite farm can follow on social media; each farm has its own Facebook page where individual horse’s progress is featured, as well as anything else of interest that is going on in and around the farm.
Claire Dickie, Farm Manager at Glenda Spooner Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Somerset echoes the feelings at all four centres when she says: “We are very disappointed not to be welcoming our visitors back to Glenda Spooner Farm until Easter but the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors is of paramount importance. We are fortunate to have been able to continue rescuing and rehoming throughout the pandemic and, like everyone, we hope for a return to a more normal way of life very soon.”
Rehoming is a key part of the work that World Horse Welfare does with rescued horses once they have been rehabilitated, and it is the ultimate aim for every animal that comes into the charity’s care. Every horse that is rehomed releases a space at one of the Rescue and Rehoming Centres for another horse in need.
During the restrictions over the past year rehoming has continued, although with an adapted application process and virtual home visits. Applications for rehoming are still being welcomed. Find out which horses are currently available and how to apply for them on its new rehoming website or, to find out more about the process, watch WHW’s Six simple steps to rehoming from World Horse Welfare YouTube video.