<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Behind the scenes at the World Horse Welfare Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre

PUBLISHED: 00:00 01 February 2016

John Bishop with World Horse Welfare Amara and Mable

John Bishop with World Horse Welfare Amara and Mable

Archant

We visit Penny Farm, a centre in Blackpool that rescues and rehabilitates horses and gets them galloping back to health. Emma Mayoh reports

John and Melanie Bishop with World Horse Welfare Indie John and Melanie Bishop with World Horse Welfare Indie

It is hard to believe any of the animals at World Horse Welfare Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre have suffered long term neglect and abuse. But many of the ponies and horses at the Blackpool site have been rescued from tragic situations by the charity. Cases have ranged from single ponies who have been left in a field with no food, water or shelter to large groups who have had to be rescued. For some animals, it is a race against time to get them the care they need.

‘Some of the animals come to us through prosecutions and others come when we feel a horse isn’t receiving the correct care,’ said Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, the international horse charity that improves the lives of horses in the UK and around the world through education, campaigning, and hands-on care.

‘We receive thousands of calls and we have field officers who do visits so we can take action if it is necessary. For some owners, it may be that they just need advice. Taking an animal away is a last resort for us. We want to be able to educate and help people take proper care of the horses. It’s about making the right choice for the welfare of an animal.’

World Horse Welfare is a leading international horse charity and also the largest equine rescue and rehoming charity in the UK. The charity has four rescue and rehoming centres around the UK and, since it opened in 2001, Penny Farm has taken in thousands of vulnerable horses. Each horse undergoes intensive rehabilitation with the centre’s dedicated staff and volunteers before joining the charity’s rehoming scheme to find a loving new home.

Zoe Clifford, Nicole Walmsley, Roly Owens, Hayley Penrice, Lisa Smith, Fran Williamson, Lauren Martin, Katie Grimshaw, Barry Johnston and Louise Murrie with horses Bailey and Dale (Farm Mascot) Zoe Clifford, Nicole Walmsley, Roly Owens, Hayley Penrice, Lisa Smith, Fran Williamson, Lauren Martin, Katie Grimshaw, Barry Johnston and Louise Murrie with horses Bailey and Dale (Farm Mascot)

Penny Farm will always be a special place for Barry Johnson, chairman of trustees. Barry, who lives in Bilsborough, was asked to be the farm vet when the centre first opened and continued to do so until his retirement in 2007. He spent many years helping horses at Penny Farm.

‘I have been interested in horse welfare for many years,’ said Barry, who was also the president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as well as being a member of the World Horse Welfare Council. ‘When the centre was being set up I really wanted to be involved as it is something that is important to me.

‘The work that is done here is essential and important to making sure horses are well-cared for. When I retired, I really missed it. It is a job I loved doing which is why I wanted to come back as the chairman. It means I can still help and have an influence, which means a lot.’

Some of the horses go to farms or private homes when they are rehabilitated but others become working horses. One horse, Penny, even became a military working horse in the Royal Horse Artillery. Penny was the first horse to be taken in at Penny Farm. She was emaciated, completely unhandled, had bad feet and was covered in lice. After rehabilitation, the horse worked as part of the gun team carrying one of six WW1 guns with the Kings Troop. Penny worked on many royal occasions including the Queen Mother’s funeral, Kate and William’s wedding, the gun team that fired the salute to mark the birth of Prince George and the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. She was retired back to Penny Farm.

Lisa Smith with Jinx Lisa Smith with Jinx

‘This really showed how a poorly cared for horse can go on to do great things,’ said Barry. ‘Penny became an ambassador for the charity and she has proved that rescued horses can go on to have a useful working career and that they can make a really positive difference.’

Anyone from horse enthusiasts to first time owners have rehomed the horses. There are also high profile people who are taking care of the animals. Comedian John Bishop and his wife, Melanie, recently rehomed four horses from Penny Farm. Dora, Amara, Indie and Mable, had suffered terrible neglect. But they have now settled in with the couple’s other rescue pets, which include two English bull terriers and a pot-bellied pig.

‘Melanie and I share a love of animals of all shapes and sizes and foster the belief that there are so many animals who have been neglected or abused that rehoming is the only logical option, explained John. ‘I would encourage anyone who is in a position to have any animal to look at rehoming before buying.

‘Growing up, I never thought I would have a field full of horses but owning them isn’t rocket science – you just need a bit of common sense and a good sense of humour. They’re strong-willed, unpredictable and impulsive so it’s a lot like bringing up children.’

The couple didn’t plan to rehome four horses but due to their different personalities, it was a good idea to keep them together.

Melanie said: ‘Amara had a really tough start in life so it’s great to see that she still has the confidence to throw her weight around a bit. The plan wasn’t originally to have four but the little herd we rehomed now feel like they belong together.

‘The team at Penny Farm have been flexible and helped us every step of the way. We are delighted that they were able to match us with horses who perfectly suit what we were looking for.’

None of the £400,000 a year needed to keep Penny Farm going comes from government grants. Instead, it comes from bequests, donations, adopting a horse and fundraising events. There are also a number of volunteers and staff who dedicate their time to keeping Penny Farm running. It is these people that Barry believes are the real heroes.

‘We couldn’t do it without them,’ he said. ‘The people at Penny Farm work really hard to make sure our horses receive the best care and a successful rehabilitation.

‘We are very lucky to have such wonderful staff and volunteers who make such a huge contribution to what we do.’

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Fri, 00:00

This remarkable garden can whisk you on a horticulture tour of the world. Linda Viney took a trip

Read more
Mon, 19:39

A fantastic end to 2017 is in store at the annual equestrian event in the centre of Liverpool.

Read more
Mon, 19:38

John Lenehan heads for Gisburn to walk by the Ribble and sample the delights of the Auction Mart Cafe.

Read more

This busy community might sometimes feel like the village that time forgot, but it’s full of people who help themselves. Martin Pilkington reports

Read more
Silverdale
Monday, November 6, 2017

Follow our short guide to a festive trip to Lytham this Christmas.

Read more
Christmas
Monday, November 6, 2017

Windermere is dependent on tourism, but when the holidaymakers have left there remains a thriving village community

Read more
Windermere
Monday, November 6, 2017

The 218th Westmorland County Show welcomed HRH The Prince of Wales

Read more
Thursday, November 2, 2017

Is it a helicopter? Is it a plane? It’s neither. Or maybe both. Paul Mackenzie meets a man offering a unique bird’s eye view of the Lake District.

Read more
Lake District

It may only be a small town, but these home grown products are causing a big stir

Read more
Ormskirk
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

While conservation work is important globally, The Lancashire Wildlife Trust is stressing the need to think locally too. Alan Wright discusses the important of wildlife close to home.

Read more
Lancashire Wildlife
Monday, October 23, 2017

There are many reasons why the Forest of Bowland is designated Area of Natural Beauty, we’ve picked our favourite spots that we think you will love too.

Read more
Bowland
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The ‘Rural Oscars’ Are Back

Read more
Monday, October 16, 2017

It may not be the Serengeti but the stunning countryside around Nicky Nook will make a perfect location for eco-holidays. Roger Borrell reports.

Read more
Bowland Scorton
Saturday, October 14, 2017

Volunteers are restoring a lovely Victorian garden just a short stroll from a busy city centre. Linda Viney reports

Read more
Liverpool
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Lancashire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search