World Horse Welfare calls on horse owners to ensure they make provision for their horses in their wills
As part of fifth annual Legacy Awareness Week (12th – 18th Sept), leading international horse charity, World Horse Welfare, is calling on the UK’s 446,000 horse owners to ensure they make provision for their horses in their wills – safeguarding their future should the worst happen.
Preparing a Will is not at the forefront of everyone’s mind but having it in place helps to provide reassurance in knowing that your horse or horses will be cared for should you no longer be able to do so. Many people may leave their equines to friends or family, but that relies on the person in question having the capabilities, experience and financial means to care for a horse or horses. Plus, if their circumstances change unexpectedly they could become unable to care for the horses and without a ‘plan b’ their options can be very limited.
Horses are legally classed as ‘chattels’, items of personal property which are grouped together with other possessions such as cars, jewellery, clothing and furniture. If they are not specifically mentioned in a Will, horses will be simply passed on to next of kin and can even be used to pay off existing debts.
World Horse Welfare runs a unique scheme where owners can leave their horses to the charity in their Will, safeguarding their future. The scheme began in 1990 and has more than 800 horse owners who have registered their equines with the charity and left a financial gift to provide for their care. Horses gifted to World Horse Welfare in a Will are found loving new homes through the charity’s rehoming scheme where they can bring joy and friendship to another family or individual, but as with all horses on the scheme, they remain the property of World Horse Welfare for life giving them a secure future.
World Horse Welfare Chief Field Officer, Claire Gordon, said:
“In my role at World Horse Welfare, I see both extremes of horse welfare. Whilst I have first-hand experience of great suffering, I am also privileged to share in the acts of great compassion and empathy shown by those who leave their horses to us in their Will. I remember each and every one of the lucky horses whose owners loved and cared for them so much that they saw their responsibilities to their horse’s welfare reaching beyond their lifetime. Each wanted peace of mind that their beloved horse would be well cared for in the event that tragedy should strike.
“Meeting these owners and hearing about their horse’s likes and dislikes, their foibles and routines is a privilege and an honour. I don’t meet all the horses bequeathed to us in Wills before the owner has passed but occasionally circumstances arise where it is requested.
“One lady became terminally ill and with only a few weeks to live couldn’t manage to care for her horse so asked that he came in early to us. She showed great courage and strength by putting his needs ahead of her own. Whilst I know that it was very hard for her to let him go at a time in life when his companionship was so important to her, it was tempered by knowing that he would be safe in our care for the rest of his life and this is a promise that every World Horse Welfare horse can be assured of. Along with my fellow field officers, we vet all future potential homes and then continue to visit the horses in these homes for the rest of their lives. It makes it easy for me to reassure people that their horse will be well cared for because it is my job to ensure they are.
“Helping people to ensure the well-being of their beloved horse when they are gone touches my heart and leaves its mark on me. The kindness and love shown to an animal often during a most difficult and private time of their life inspires me in my work. They help to redress the balance of the great acts of cruelty I sadly witness.”
To find out more about gifting your horse to World Horse Welfare in your will please visit: http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/Leaving-your-horse-in-your-Will