Irish Horse Welfare Trust

Irish people are said to have an affinity with the horse. Yet in the past few years there have been increased calls to animal welfare groups regarding horse welfare and major issues have arisen affecting horses in Ireland.

The Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT) is a voluntary organisation set up for the protection of Equines in Ireland, which includes Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming of horses and ponies. The IHWT continuously aim to increase welfare standards for all horses and ponies in Ireland.

The Irish Horse Welfare Trust was set up in May 2001 and gained Charitable Status in 2002. Charity No: CHY14634

What we do

IHWT is involved in the following work:

    • Rescue, Rehabilitation & Re-homing of horses and ponies
    • Racehorse Re-training for Re-homing Programme
    • Campaigning on issues affecting Equines
    • Promoting Equine Welfare Awareness

Despite the instinctive and sensitive nature of horses, they learn to trust us. We feed and care for them, ride them and drive them. We have domesticated horses for centuries. They have been with us during peaceful times – as fellow workers in the fields and throughout history – on the battlefield as noble and gallant companions. Today there are just as many horses, still doing a multitude of tasks for us, for both sport and pleasure. IHWT is dedicated to the protection and welfare of Equines in Ireland.

Racehorse re-training for Re-homing Programme

Screenshot from 2015-07-31 16:04:58IHWT has initiated, for the first time in Ireland, a programme for the re-training for re-homing of ex-racehorses. Hundreds of horses leave racing each year. Many of these horses could be re-schooled for other disciplines. This programme aims to help some of these horses to go on to a new career in a new home and live out a happy useful life. Such programmes have been successful overseas.

Another ex-racehorse came into care before Christmas called “Gerry”.  He is an older horse with a few problems and luckily a lovely suitable home was recently found for him. The first horse entered the programme early in September 2002. The six year old Gelding was originally called “Flower Hill Lad” but was renamed “Dancer”. His racing career had ended following a tendon injury and was given into the care of IHWT. He was helped by the complementary treatment of “Reiki” for his tendon injury and within a couple of months was making a remarkable recovery. Having come out of a very stressful career in racing he had also exhibited behavioural problems, but following the time and care he received, he settled down to his new lifestyle and today is a happy horse in his new home.

Presently we have 4 ex-racehorses given over by Trainers for the Racehorse Programme all of which are finished racing. They are 4 lovely geldings with beautiful temperments and very suitable for re-training.  The re-training of these horses will begin at the end of July 2003. Currently there are 3 ex-racehorses waiting to come in.

The Racehorse Re-training Programme is part-funded by Horse Racing Ireland, for which IHWT is very grateful.

It takes a minimum of 6-9 months to re-train and re-school an ex-racehorse and this time can increase depending on the individual. Racehorses come out of a highly stressful career and it takes time for them to settle into a new type of work. Most horses adapt happily given the chance and can go on to do other disciplines such as Hacking, Dressage or Show jumping. They are however not suitable for novice riders and need a lot of care and attention.

Racehorses at IHWT
Happy at IHWT


Rehoming Section

The following are some of our horses and ponies looking for kind homes.

sm_ruby280703Ruby is a 3 year old thoroughbred filly and was suffering from severe Emaciation, Ringworm, Cuts, Sores, Lice and Worm infestations, when she was rescued. She was very weak and nervous.  She has started picking up after a couple of weeks in the care of IHWT and although she still has a long way to go, she is now looking better and is no longer terrified.  She is a remarkable horse to have survived and she will need a very special home to be found.

horse_8Joe is a 3 year old small pony who came into care, very thin and with a back injury, He was diagnosed by chiropractor John Roche as having had a spinal crush injury. Although almost wild initially, he soon settled and is benefiting greatly from the treatment he is receiving. It is hoped that he will make an almost full recovery in time.

Rescue & Rehabilitation

The Irish Horse Welfare Trust has excellent stabling, facilities and experience to help rehabilitate horses and ponies. Many horses and ponies arrive into care in a very neglected state and it takes weeks and even months to bring them back to full health. Once rehabilitated fully IHWT horses and ponies become available for rehoming to suitable caring homes.

princess_redropePrincess, a 13hh grey pony mare had clearly been neglected for a long time. Apart from being extremely thin, her hooves were also neglected and she was very lame. She started to put on weight within a few weeks but most of it seemed to be going around her middle. Sure enough the vet soon confirmed that she was in foal! Princess has now gone out to a lovely home with a family who are delighted with her and are happy that she will be having the foal. The photo shows Princess ready to go to her new home.

winston4Winston is a half bred 4 year old gelding who was found in very bad condition. He was also extremely head shy. Following veterinary treatment, worming and treatments for lice, he started to put on weight. He soon became friendly and there was then no problem putting on the head collar. It turned out that he had been broken and ridden and having been with us for only a few months moved on to a lovely new home. He is hacked out occasionally and shares his new home with four mares!

silverSilver was a four year old Palomino who was taken into care in an appalling state. He was emaciated and dehyrated. Everyone put in a huge effort for him including 2 hourly checks throughout the night. Although initially he made progress in care, it transpired that he had sustained serious kidney damage through his neglect and sadly he had to be put to sleep.