1889 saw The Home of Rest for Horses relocate from its Sudbury beginnings to pastures new at Friar’s Place Farm in Acton, West London. The charity remained in Acton until 1908.
At this time, in the 1900’s London needed an incredible 300,000 horses to keep it moving. Most of these, and most of The Home of Rest’s early patients were the horses of cabmen. The remaining worked for traders such as laundrymen, grocers or rag-and-bone men. An owner-driver would take the best care he could of the horse on which he depended, but some horses were rented by the day, and each driver would work the horse as hard as possible. A horse’s life was relentless and incredibly hard work.
A steady stream of exhausted horses came to the Home for treatment. The charge for hiring a replacement was set at 25 shillings per week (about two days earnings). Feed for the rental horse was included, to make sure the hired animal was well-fed while out working.
The below details how both a horse and its owner benefited from the work of the Home of Rest in these early days.
“A Brown Mare, ‘Baby’, suffering from rheumatism causing her to fall lame … enabled to return to her owner in good condition and fit to resume work…. while the mare was under the Society’s care her owner was in hospital undergoing an operation for a cataract, freed, however, from anxiety as to this animal’s welfare by the knowledge that she was receiving the best of care in the Home.’”