Animal lovers keen to try their hand at volunteering are being urged to roll up their sleeves and muck in at Mountains Animal Sanctuary to help care for its 140 horses and ponies.
As part of the centre’s Dayzee Appeal, ‘Help our horses keep their homes’ which was launched last month, local residents who either have experience or an interest in horses and are looking for a worthy cause to get their teeth into, are being urged to lend a hand for a few hours or days per week.
Already the sanctuary has six volunteers and three students helping out, but it needs more, especially when the winter weather sets in as up to 130 feeds are dished out and delivered each day.
Anita Udale, head girl who started working at the sanctuary five years ago, said: “We’ve found ourselves in a difficult financial position and need to continue to care for our horses in the best possible way and we desperately need volunteers.
“To care for the number of horses we have is time intensive but so rewarding.
“With certain horses needing specialist food and regular care plans there’s always lots to do. It’s fun too - all of the horses have different personalities and habits and certainly keep you on your toes.”
Depending on their interest or experience, volunteers can help out with providing tours, work in the visitor’s centre, or care for the animals by grooming, feeding and providing necessary medication, as well as offering love and care to enable the rehabilitation of the horses.
Sally Joice, a volunteer at Mountains Animal Sanctuary, said: “As a retiree, I found myself with time on my hands and, still being very active both mentally and physically, I decided to put my skills to good use.
“I now help out at Mountains Animal Sanctuary a couple of days a week and alternate weekends.
“My work is varied. I work on the yard, but I also get involved in manning the visitors centre and tours. This variety enables me to interact with horses as well as people.
“Not only am I learning new skills, but I’m also able to use and share my experience.”