A SMALL but busy horse and nature therapy organisation is preparing for yet another period of lockdown while still offering its support to people experiencing Covid-19 or other illness.

Helping Hooves based near Winchester has been providing activities and social interactions for people experiencing illness or injury since 2015.

It now finds itself needing to adapt its service delivery to meet lockdown measures, while being in ever increasing demand to offer help and support.

The organisation has National Emergency Trust Funding to deliver support for people affected by Covid-19, but with lockdown three now upon them, they are struggling to generate their usual, regular income that ensures the lovely older therapy horses and ponies get all the feed and nutrients they need to keep well through the winter months.

Abigail Withey, director, said: “January, February and March 2021 are going to be tough. Helping Hooves volunteers are working flat out to look after the horses on their own as they try and avoid working in teams - this means less time to support therapy work, although their therapy lead is still really busy offering one to one sessions and small support groups for people affected by the pandemic. It also means less volunteering time sorting donated horse and rider wear for resale, and indeed they can’t even open their little second hand tack shop to raise funds.

“It is not easy as is, let alone us needing to look down the back of the sofa for small change. Our horses are here for anyone who needs them and have done the most amazing job helping people affected by Covid-19 to feel happy, relaxed and feel there is light at the end of a very long tunnel.

“We hope local people can help us give them some much needed support in return.”

Donations can be made to Helping Hooves’ appeal online at: https://localgiving.org/feedhelpinghooveshorses.

A £4 donation buys a bale of hay, £12 buys a sack of feed packed with essential nutrients, protein and fibre needed in an older horse’s diet. £15 pays for an older horse to receive its supplements for a week.