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Hay There to our Director of Fundraising & Communications, Jess!

This month we’re shining a light on our Director of Fundraising & Communications, Jess. Jess has been with us since 2020, raising the vital funds that enable our charity to keep helping horses both at our Home of Rest, and further afield. It was Jess’s love of animals that drew her to The Horse Trust, which was sparked by her upbringing in rural Kentucky surrounded by plenty of farm animals! Jess tells us about her highs, lows, memorable moments and a particular Shetland at our sanctuary she holds close to her heart.

No day is the same for Jess, sometimes she will be planning a major event, other days she will be writing grant proposals or out on a photoshoot… the list is endless. It’s safe to say Jess is very busy but always has time for those around her, so we were very grateful to sit down with her for this lovely conversation.

How long have you been at The Horse Trust, and what job were you doing when you first started?

I’ve been at The Horse Trust for about three years now and started out working in Trusts and Foundations.

What does an average day look like as Director of Fundraising and Communications at The Horse Trust?

As the Director of Fundraising and Communications I think every day looks different. We are a small team, so I often have my fingers in many different pies! It keeps my day interesting as no day is the same. One day I may be planning a major event to host our Patron, The Princess Royal, giving a radio interview about The Horse Trust, writing proposals to win grants that will pay for equipment our horses need, out on a photoshoot, or looking to at ways we can improve our supporter’s experience.

What drove you to work in this role? 

I think it is my love of animals initially what drew me to the role.

I grew up around animals in a very rural part of Kentucky. Much to my parents dismay I would often bring home stray dogs and cats which after a bit of persuasion would always end up permanent members of our household!

We also had horses growing up; two rescues Samantha & Samson and an American Quarter Horse named Jo. I have fond memories of horse riding with my mum through the countryside as a child, so it feels special to be able to have that connection in some way with horses again.

What do you love most about your job?

Being able to work around horses every day at our beautiful sanctuary! I am still in awe every time I head down the leafy main drive to our site. I feel really lucky to work alongside a truly diverse team of experts who are passionate about what they do and play a huge role in giving back to the horses who have given so much to us. I think there is also something very good for the soul being around horses.

It is also so nice to see our visitors engaging with the horses on open days and see how happy they are to meet some of our residents. Many of our visitors came here to visit as children and now years later are bringing their children, and even grandchildren.

What’s something that isn’t so fun about your job?

For me, and I know for most of the team here at The Horse Trust, would say that having to say goodbye to one of the lovely horses in our care is very hard. Though it is a natural part of the process it doesn’t get any easier.

In terms of my role specifically, I guess there are always challenges in every job. For many charities, I think there is always that re-occurring challenge of limited resources. The good thing is it allows you to get more creative with how you do things. The last few years have been really hard for everyone. However, our local community has shown such kindness, and have rallied round to support all of the equines in our care. We have seen many people donate or volunteer their time to help, which is overwhelmingly touching.

Tell us about a particularly memorable day you’ve had at The Horse Trust. It could be something funny, or something special.

I think the day I shadowed our Director of Veterinary Care, Nicky. I got to watch and help with a check-up she was doing on one of our former residents, Union aka “Onion”. It was really nice to go behind the scenes and I absolutely fell in love with Union who was a handsome retired Household Cavalry horse with a really sweet and gentle nature.

What’s something you wish that more people knew about The Horse Trust?

I think a lot of people might be surprised that we receive no government funding and rely solely on public support to keep our doors open.

Do you have a favourite horse at The Horse Trust?

Not that I should say… but I think there are certain horses, like certain people that you may have a particular connection with. I have to say little Fred holds a special place in my heart and he really is such a gentle little sweetheart.

What a wonderful note to end our conversation on. We’d better leave Jess to it, as no doubt she’ll have plenty of proposals to write before the day comes to an end!

Your kind support enables us to provide the veterinary treatment our beloved residents need, ensuring their healthy and happy retirement, respite and recovery. To find out how you can support us, head to the link below.

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