World Horse Welfare was invited, for the first time, to be the chosen charity of Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials 2014. The charity brought along 90+ guests to the three day event, both new and long-term supporters, who were offered a tour around Blenheim Palace, a lunch reception, and the chance to meet HRH The Princess Royal.
The Princess joined the charity, as its president, to speak to guests about the charity’s far-reaching work.
She said: “I hope your interest in being here today indicates that you feel we are realistic [World Horse Welfare], are on the side of horse owners and do have a long-term view about maintaining real welfare standards for horses wherever they are in the world. It is you who make the difference to what World Horse Welfare can achieve.”
During the special ‘Year of the Horse’ reception in the President’s Pavilion for the charity’s supporters, along with the Princess, there was a raffle for supporters to try their hand at – the proceeds would go towards helping horses in the UK and across the ten developing international countries that the charity works in. Volunteers helped to sell raffle tickets for prizes such as a signed Charlotte Dujardin hat, Newmarket race day tickets and Dubarry boots which in total, along with the other prizes on offer, raised £1,600. It was Pippa Funnell MBE, one of the charity’s trustees and also competitor at this much-attended event, who drew the winners. Additional donations at the reception took the total to £2,500.
A last minute bid on the charity’s online auction, run by Blenheim, took the charity by surprise as a kind supporter bid the final £3,000 for a day at one of the charity’s four Rescue and Rehoming Centres across the UK. Final bids at the close of the auction raised a further £4,120 for the charity. World Horse Welfare plans to get in touch with the generous bidders to thank them for their kind support.
Luck continued for the charity as it was presented with a £1,000 cheque from the West Oxfordshire Riding Club. The charity also received funds from merchandise sales at its stand, bucket collections, collection tins (which were positioned on the buggies which transported Blenheim attendees to and from the car park) and the shop and drop facility – which meant that Blenheim attendees could donate £1 to the charity in return for leaving their bags safely at the charity’s stand.
Five of the charity’s eight patrons joined guests on the day: the Managing Director of Cheltenham racecourse, Ian Renton; Welsh beauty queen, Amy Guy; Jane Black, who is the wife of Andrew Black, Co-founder of Betfair; Olympic equestrian sportsman for China, Alex Hua Tian and BBC Formula 1 reporter, Lee McKenzie. During the guest reception, Lee conducted a moving interview with one of the charity’s 16 field officers from across the UK, Nick White – Nick talked about his work ensuring that the welfare of the horse is protected across his region in the South East.
World Horse Welfare’s international team provided some interesting discussions on its work in developing countries with communities and the working horses that work every day to feed whole families - in the Learning Zone. In the Attractions Arena the charity’s UK work was explained as a selection of both rehomed, and horses still looking for homes, were featured in an entertaining and educational display.
The Princess ended her speech noting specifically the equine issues faced both in the UK and overseas and how World Horse Welfare strives to tackle these issues to improve the welfare of the horse.
She says: “In our international work, it is about making sure that working horses do not suffer in the process of work, about getting the farriery right, the saddlery right, the nutrition right and getting owners to better understand the value of the animal that they work with. In the UK though – we have different problems – we have many people acquiring horses who have no real background in understanding proper horse welfare – they may have the ability in terms of space to look after horses - but don’t necessarily understand good welfare. There is a real issue in this country where we have too many horses, a real surplus of numbers, and many are not in the right place or with the right owners. Adding realistic value to our horses may keep them safer and healthier for longer – and there is a real debate about how we do that. This is an organisation [World Horse Welfare] who understands the practicality of horse ownership and sees a realistic way in which horses can fit into that.”
World Horse Welfare supports the responsible use of horses in sport and was proud to be a part of Blenheim Horse Trials this 2014.