Helping horses that change lives

One of Tom-Ro’s regular volunteers, the author’s daughter Robyn Cant-Haylett, with Dreamer – giving her a good scratch and some love.Here in a community in South Africa, horses provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls.

Tom-Ro Haven for Equines and Children is a refuge and sanctuary for eight horses and four ponies, rescued from various situations of abuse and neglect across the Western Cape, all with their own “story” to tell.

“Through the Haven’s existence, these horses and ponies can live out their lives in a safe environment, without fear of further abuse,” says founder and chairperson Gillian McCulloch. 

Through Tom-Ro’s educational enrichment and skills development programmes, these horses and ponies change lives – and are themselves rehabilitated in the process.

A young man from Glendale meets Dreamer.From working with young people from previously disadvantaged and compromised backgrounds, some as young as eight up to the age of 18, to those members of society too often marginalised due to their mental capacity, equine assisted therapy is a big focus of the Haven’s work.

It provides education on general animal care and empathy, the latter sadly lacking and alien in the lives of many these days.

It’s heartwarming to witness the gentleness displayed by the horses as they interact with young boys with scarred lives or mentally challenged adults, apprehensive and excited all at the same time as they meet the horses. 

It is for this reason that IFAW has provided support, by way of a grant, to Tom-Ro Haven.

One of eight rescued horses at Tom-Ro, Badger meets one of the visitors from the Glendale Home.The drought that has struck South Africa has affected thousands, and with little access to water farmers face the reality of losing crops and livestock. Tom-Ro is not exempt. Oat hay, the primary food for the horses, is in short supply across the Western Cape as farmers buy in bulk to sustain their animals and livestock through the dry spell. An outlay to secure a bulk supply of feed makes a deep dent in the budget.

IFAW has therefore stepped in and made it possible for them to secure the necessary feed which will only allow them to continue to serve as a refuge for the horses and continue to make a difference in the lives of many people.

 -- LCH

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