The story behind the Horse Sanctuary Trust

Horses deserve to live out a safe retirement on a farm with the space and freedom to run and graze in big paddocks.

I spotted my first Cape Town cart horse at 9 years old, and on that day I swore that one day I would make enough money to buy every single cart horse from its owner. Now that I am older and have been involved with animal welfare in Cape Town, I have come to understand that most of the working cart horses are loved and cherished deeply by their families. Working with cart horses may be a necessity for some of the cart horse owners and drivers for income generation, but many have chosen to work with horses simply because they love horses.

The problem comes in when cart horses are injured or get too old to work. The families don’t always have the financial means to care for an animal that is just a pet, and often need to purchase a new horse to continue to earn a living for their families. Subsequently, the fate of their horse ultimately lies at the hands of local horse rescue centres. These centres do their utmost to carry out their mission which can range from equine rescue to community education on horsemanship, but in many occasions, they do not have the space or financial means to take in every single horse that needs a home.

Adoption programmes help, but the need for homes outweighs demand which leads to unwanted horses being euthanised. The cart horses often work their whole lives – only to succumb to a tendon or working injury which affects their chances of being rehomed. Horses who have been abused and have behavioural issues stand an even lower chance of finding homes.

The Horse Sanctuary Trust is the solution. A safe place where working horses can live out a retirement and just be horses.

  • Cart horses who have sometimes spent up to 20 years pulling carts along the roads of Cape Town live a hard life and sometimes cannot find a home due to behavioural or physical issues and are euthanised.
  • Retired race horses who spent their youth in training and racing, their adolescence in riding schools and have since gotten too old to be of any use and are euthanised.
  • Police horses who give their lives to serve the public and spark joy in any child (and adult) who spots them, and instead of receiving a retirement package they often receive abandonment, neglect, or a lethal injection instead.

They deserve a retirement where they can live like horses are supposed to – spending their days grazing in fields big enough to run and explore.

Please join us in giving these majestic animals a happy ending.

Donate to

The Horse Sanctuary Trust
Investec Account
Account Number: 50009561184
Branch Code: 580105

Donate with your credit card 

The beautiful featured photo was taken at Horse About in Tulbagh, South Africa. Horse About have rescued numerous horses and given them a wonderful home.