Horse Welfare a Lifetime Job
Project Hope Horse Welfare Victoria, which has more than 400 members, run a number of workshops throughout Victoria for horse owners.
Founded almost 50 years ago, Project Hope recently secured State Government funding for equine rehabilitation and rehoming.
Project Manager, Rhona Petschel, says the workshops could be of interest to people who own horses in the townships where the workshops are held.
Topics around equine care are offered such as:
- Working with horses that have experienced trauma.
- A practical approach to horse welfare.
- Recognising a horse in trouble
- Managing the overweight horse.
These workshops are for horse loving people that find it difficult to not help a horse in trouble. Project Hope has been supporting horses in trouble and their owners for nearly five decades.
The training sessions provide a practical approach to addressing horse welfare, particularly for clubs and communities. Ms Petschel says that Project Hope has a unique model. “People who want to help horses can train with us. We teach them or coach them, to go out and visit horses when they are in trouble.”
If anyone in the community is worried about a horse that they’ve seen driving by, they can ring us or report it to our website. “We will go and meet the owners respectfully to say we’re here to help in any way we can” she said. Working with the owners is often the best way to resolve an issue around horse welfare. It may be that the owners just need information about feeding or caring for horses that don’t already know about.”
With our members, its really a collection of knowledge that has been stored and shared over the years, she said.”
Project Hope Horse Welfare takes a current “science-based information approach to help people as best as we can.”
If owners can’t manage we will find a new home for their horses, we can provide short-term accommodation before finding a permanent home. There are lots of reasons why people may not be coping with a horse.”
Horses live for a long time (about 30 years) and they need a lot of physical care.
There are a lot of societal reasons why people can no longer care for their horses that come into play where circumstances can change.
Of the 160 horse reports Project Hope receives each year about 10-12 are surrendered to the care of Project Hope members each year.
Ms Petschel has been involved with Project Hope for almost 20 years and has three rescue horses herself at her Wallan property, including Ava, who she saved at seven months old from a suburban block where there was not enough feed or shelter.
Keeping Ava company is 15 year-old Snip who was surrendered to the RSPCA and 14 year-old, Harmony who had been impounded by a council as a runaway.
Those interested in knowing more about the workshops being run by Project Hope should go to their website or follow them on social media for when the sessions are being held.