World Horse Welfare is an international charity dedicated to helping horses in need. Founded in 1927, the organization is involved with training more than 100 saddlers and farriers around the world every year who use their skills to improve the lives of local working horses and the lives of their owners. They also campaign to change legislation and attitudes about horse welfare, including our major Make A Noise campaign to end the live long-distance transportation of horses for slaughter in Europe.
Claire King has been a supporter of World Horse Welfare for twenty years and she recently traveled to Lesotho, a tiny landlocked country entirely surrounded by South Africa, with members of the charity’s international training team. She met farriery and saddlery students being trained by World Horse Welfare and saw first hand, some of the problems faced by horses in the country.
“What first struck me about Lesotho was how mountainous it was. The terrain is so harsh that they have no choice but to use the horse as their main mode of transport,” said Claire. “What was especially noticeable was the tack. The bits were worn too low and were clanking against their teeth. The old military saddles they used were falling apart and the harnesses just didn’t fit at all. I saw horses with incredible sores on their backs.”
As well as Lesotho, World Horse Welfare’s international training programs are also under way in Mexico, Romania and most recently in Soweto. Students are specially selected from the local community and spend a year training in the skills of either saddlery or farriery. The best students go on to become the trainers of tomorrow and some are able to set up their own businesses, providing an affordable service to their village. This approach is something that Claire feels very passionate about:
“The whole philosophy of World Horse Welfare to help not just the horses but the people too is fantastic and especially prevalent in Lesotho,” she says. “They really want to learn and the program is working. If anyone is considering helping World Horse Welfare continue this work, please do.”
For more information about the charity and how you can help, visit their website.