Owners urged to safeguard their horses’ futures by including them in their will

Jennifer Blenkiron and her horse Crystal. Jennifer has joined a scheme in which any horses she owns at her death will become part of World Horse Welfare's rehoming scheme.
Jennifer Blenkiron and her horse Crystal. Jennifer has joined a scheme in which any horses she owns at her death will become part of World Horse Welfare’s rehoming scheme.

A leading British equine charity is calling on owners to ensure they make provision for their horses in their wills to safeguard their future.

World Horse Welfare acknowledged that preparing a will was not at the forefront of everyone’s mind, but it would be a wise move for Britain’s 446,000 horse owners to ensure they made arrangements for their animals.

It would, according to the charity, give people reassurance in knowing that their horses will be cared for.

Many people may leave their equines to friends or family, it said, but that relied on the person in question having the capabilities, experience and financial means to care for the animals.

Plus, if their circumstances changed unexpectedly, they could become unable to care for the horses themselves. Without an alternative plan, their options can be very limited.

Horses in Britain are legally classed as “chattels” − items of personal property grouped together with other possessions such as cars, jewellery, clothing and furniture. If they are not specifically mentioned in a will, horses will be simply passed on to next of kin and can even be used to pay off existing debts.

World Horse Welfare runs a scheme where owners can leave their horses to the charity in their will, safeguarding their long-term future.

It began in 1990 and has more than 800 horse owners who have registered their equines with the charity and left a financial gift to provide for their care.

Horses gifted to World Horse Welfare in a will are found new homes through the charity’s rehoming scheme where they can bring joy and friendship to another family or individual. But, as with all horses on the scheme, they remain the property of World Horse Welfare for life, giving them a secure future, and their welfare is regularly checked by the charity’s staff.

Norfolk resident Jennifer Blenkiron has been a World Horse Welfare supporter for over 30 years and recently registered her horses under the scheme.

“I need to be sure that any horse I own at the time of my death shall be looked after by an organisation I have trusted and supported for over 30 years. I will continue to support it as much as I can in the future.

“Having two hip replacements and three knee ops done before the age of 47, I was well aware at an early age that sometimes things don’t go according to plan and you must adapt to your circumstances and prepare for the future.

“Of course, I don’t intend to leave this earth for many years and when I do, should I own any horses then they are signed over to World Horse Welfare.

“Should I not own any horses by then, I still have provision in my Will for World Horse Welfare to benefit financially so they can continue to help the many horses who so desperately need it.”

Blenkiron described it as a win-win situation. “It leaves me worry-free to enjoy today, tomorrow and the rest of my life with my beautiful horses.”

More information on World Horse Welfare’s scheme can be found here

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