Redwings Horse Sanctuary marks Head of Welfare and Behaviour, Nic de Brauwere’s 25th anniversary at the charity.
Nic graduated from Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in South Africa earlier that year and brought to the Sanctuary unparalleled compassion and insight (as well as a curious penchant for fountain pens!). It is this understanding and skill that has seen Nic provide clinical care, herd health management, and round up and rescue expertise to both Redwings and fellow welfare organisations for the past 25 years.
Indeed, as testament to Nic’s extensive experience working in the field of equine welfare, in 2009 he was elected to be Chairman of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) – an umbrella organisation for equine rescue centres and sanctuaries across the UK and a role he fulfils alongside heading up Redwings’ welfare and behaviour teams.
As Head of Welfare and Behaviour, Nic’s knowledge is fundamental to Redwings’ rescue work, in particular specialising in the rounding-up and subsequent rehabilitation and long-term care of feral, unhandled or mistreated horses, and it is his expertise in this field that has spearheaded Redwings’ approach to not only equine health and welfare, but equine behaviour and training too. Colleague and fellow veterinary surgeon Roxane Kirton explains:
“Nic has dedicated his career to the promotion and advancement of horse welfare. He has led the development of our behaviour programme at Redwings because he has the vision and conviction to drive forward change and make things happen, while always being open-minded and reflective of ways in which we can improve the lives of our horses.
“I – and his whole team – are so proud to work alongside Nic and to be part of such a dynamic and forward-thinking department, plus his brilliant sense of humour and vivid shirt collection ensures there is never a dull day!”
Nic has also been involved in consultations on many areas of animal welfare policy; most notably he worked with the Welsh Government between 2012 and 2014 to help draft the Control of Horses (Wales) Act, which became law in 2014 and helped energise the commitment to an English equivalent that came into force the following year.
However, it is his unwavering commitment and passion that those who work and have worked with Nic comment on most frequently. Nic has headed up several high profile rescue operations – including the notorious Spindle Farm in Amersham in 2008 where over 100 horses, ponies and donkeys were rescued over a gruelling 24-hour period – and he regularly lends his experience as an expert witness in prosecution cases.
Indeed, even those who are not fortunate enough to work alongside Nic shoulder-to-shoulder in rescuing horses in need, cannot help but be inspired during his retelling of what he has experienced as a frequent event speaker. His compassion is tangible, and at a recent event both he and the whole audience were moved to tears while reflecting on Redwings’ largest ever rescue operation in 2013 where over 400 horses were found in South Wales in some of the most horrific scenes ever witnessed by the charity.
Commenting on Nic’s 25 years at Redwings, Chief Executive Lynn Cutress said: “Nic has been instrumental in our landmark achievements as a charity and this is testament to his 25-year commitment to Redwings and helping horses in need.
“Both within our own charity and in his partnership working with our fellow animal welfare organisations and key partners like local authorities and emergency services, Nic’s drive and determination are inspirational and demonstrate that when working together we can achieve the unachievable – from the Amersham rescue to the phenomenal work in Wales. When the chips are down for horses in dire need, I always know Nic and his team will deliver.”