The Home of Rest for Horses was established to help the working horses of London. After 120 years our mission had expanded we were renamed to The Horse Trust. The new name better reflects the breadth and depth of our activities to promote and enhance the welfare of the horse. This encompasses our dedication to improving the welfare of every horse, through scientific research aimed at improving horse care and welfare, and by providing training and advice to horse owners and equine professionals. Our Home of Rest for Horses in Buckinghamshire remains at the heart of our charity. It is here that The Horse Trust cares for around 100 retired and rescued horses. At our Home of Rest we have created a ‘centre of excellence in horse care’, where we can demonstrate and share best practice in horse care and welfare.
In 1970 building development forced The Home of rest for Horses to sell their site in Borehamwood. New, larger premises were sought to allow the charity to expand to accommodate an increase in the number of horses in their care.
Speen Farm in Buckinghamshire was purchased with the proceeds of the sale of the site at Borehamwood. The farm was made up of a hundred acres situated on the southern slopes of the Chiltern Hills.
The Home of Rest began to move animals to Speen Farm in 1970. The first animals to arrive were ten pit ponies from South Wales, which arrived at Speen on 27th August. More horses were moved from Borehamwood and by December 1970 there were 44 horses living at Speen Farm including four from the Household Cavalry.
A new stable yard was built and was a replica of the yard at Borehamwood. Although the Home was not actually completed until early June, the registered office and staff moved to Speen Farm on the 1st May 1971, leaving a very small token staff at Borehamwood to act as caretakers until the property was sold. The completion of this sale was dated the 20th September, 1971. The new Home, stands on the highest point of the Chiltern hills, half way between High Wycombe and Princes Risborough, surrounded by a perimeter fence which includes one hundred acres of grazing land.
The stables were officially opened on 15th July, 1971 by the Countess of Westmoreland and was attended by a large gathering of notable supporters!
Although the Home of Rest for Horses remained at the heart of the charity, our work began to expand. The charity continued to help London’s working horses, but it was decided that there was much more that the charity could do to help horses across the UK.
The proceeds of the sale of the site in Borehamwood left the charity with some additional funds. It was decided that this money should be used to fund projects that would benefit the welfare of horses across the UK. During the 1970s and 80s the Home of Rest for Horses gave funded new facilities and research projects at nearly every veterinary school in the UK. They also funded equipment building and projects at The Animal Health Trust, Riding for the Disabled Association, The British Horse Society and Worshipful Company of Farriers. In 1972 we purchased 72 acres of land near Bristol for the use of “the Friends of Bristol Horse Society” which has gone on to become the successful horse charity Horse World.
The Home of Rest for Horses reached its Centenary in 1986. To mark this milestone of continuous equine welfare work, and as a tribute to Hyde Park Bombing survivor ‘Sefton,’ the charity gave a grant of £300,000 to fund the building of a modern equine veterinary hospital at the Royal Veterinary College, London. The Home of Rest for Horses went on to become one of the UK’s leading funders of equine veterinary research. This research has helped improve the care and welfare of horses across the world.
The Home of Rest for Horses also began to provide professional training for those working on the front line of horse welfare. Police officers, local authority officers and charity field officers began to visit The Home of Rest to take part in hands-on training.
In 2006 The Trustees decided that The Home of Rest for Horses should be renamed to The Horse Trust to better reflect the expanding role of the charity and The Horse Trust was born.
Read more stories about today at The Horse Trust.