The Equine Market Watch charity has three sanctuaries in Powys, Herefordshire and Shropshire. It campaigns on issues of horse welfare, against indiscriminate breeding, and takes equines in need into sanctuaries to rehabilitate them and place them in approved loan homes. As a policy they don’t buy from markets unless it is clear that there is a pony who is so distressed it cannot in all conscience be left there. Most of EMW's residents are signed over due to their owners' inability to cope, for a variety of reasons. The charity’s motto is “We will NEVER look away”. The picture shows Louis, rescued from an abusive home. You can meet him at the Open Day.
The Sanctuaries are being pushed by the credit crunch: prices are going up and donations are going down, so their Open Day is vital. The Shropshire Branch is running the Open Day on Saturday 9th August with Richard Maxwell. I know about this as they asked me if I'd like a trade stall on the day - as I won't long be out of hospital I really felt I couldn't. I am particularly sorry to be missing the Saddle Chariot demo.
But the star of the day is Richard Maxwell, well known for training youngsters and working with problem horses (and indeed riders). He is doing two demos during the day. He usually charges £20 per demo, so the entry price for the Shropshire event of £15 (£20 on the day) is incredibly good value!
There are also Shetlands: these are the PetsBehavingBadly team of four. You can have a try at clicker training with them, apparently. I do wonder if clicker training would have been able to educate the Shetlands who lived here on their attitude to electric fencing. I suspect not, as they had long ago learned that if you gallop at it fast enough it will go ping and you won't really feel it.
Equine Touch will be demonstrated by Emma Knowles. Even after reading the website I'm not entirely sure what this is (had I been going to the event I'd have had to bring a telescope so I could find out!). It looks to be a system of small, gentle massage movements.
There's also a Saddle Chariot demo at 4.00pm, and that looks a lot of fun. The Saddle Chariot is a one person thingy pulled by a horse or pony. You can use it for paddock maintenance, or "bombing around having a ball." I really, really like the sound of that. Simon Mulholland, its inventor, wanted to design a safe vehicle in which a pony could pull an adult, and has produced something "which allows small ponies to have serious fun." I'm really sorry I'll be missing this demo as Simon and his pony Henry sound as if they take no prisoners.
If you'd like to go to the event and support this excellent charity (and if you go, please let me know what you think of the Saddle Chariot), this is the link you'll need.