YouTube star This Esme recently visited our Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre, in Somerset, for a behind-the-scenes day working as a groom. Esme shadowed Glenda Spooner Farm team member Steph for the day, helping out with all sorts of tasks.
Esme visited on a Tuesday, which is the day our farms have visits from their team of external specialists, including vets, farriers, physiotherapists and Equine Dental Technicians. This means Tuesdays are always really busy days on our farms, with our grooms walking miles bringing horses into the yard and taking them back out again.
Esme’s day started off going out to do field checks with Steph – and with around 70 horses cared for at Glenda Spooner Farm at any one time, that’s quite a big job! Next Esme and Steph caught up ponies Apple and Primrose (the pony who inspired Esme’s painted sculpture for our World Horse Trail last year) and brought them into the yard.
During the winter, our grooms often have to wash horses’ legs off to get them clean ready for the farrier. Esme discovered that Cremello mare Primrose shows the mud up quite spectacularly, rather like her own pony Mickey!
All our horses and ponies are got used to loading before they are rehomed so, with Primrose cleaned up nicely, loading practise was next on the list. With some hay waiting for her in the trailer, Primrose took all in her stride and made the most of the opportunity for a quick snack!
With Primrose back in a stable, Esme then held Shetland pony Rocky for the farrier whilst he had his feet trimmed. Rocky was also due to have a once-over from the vet after having a couple of teeth removed recently, so Esme held him whilst he was sedated for the vet to be able to check how he was healing.
Next on the list was cleaning out crewyards and topping up hay for the ponies in them, including Teddy, Primrose’s foal. With so many horses to care for, each farm needs a lot of haynets filled each day and Esme helped Joan, one of our many dedicated volunteers, fill and weigh haynets to make sure each horse receives the right amount of hay.
Our wonderful volunteers are invaluable to us, whether they give their time helping out in one of our Visitor Centres, at our Head Office or on the yard, and after lunch Esme met dedicated trio Tish, Pat and Carol (the self-described “poo crew”!) who make sure the yard is spotless each Tuesday once all the horses and ponies have gone back out.
After helping Tish, Pat and Carol clean out some stables, the next job on Esme’s list was doing some groundwork with Keith, one of the ponies currently in work at Glenda Spooner Farm. Groundwork is a vital part of the rehabilitation process for those of our horses and ponies who can be worked and groom Steph showed Esme what specific exercises Keith was doing as part of his programme, including baited stretches, in-hand polework and lunging.
Last but by no means least was one of the most important jobs for the day: feeding the cat! It’s safe to say Robin is a very important part of the Glenda Spooner Farm team and regularly has a starring role on the farm’s Facebook page.
During her visit Esme discovered just how vital the expertise of our grooms is to the horses’ rehabilitation and said:
“You could really tell how much of a bond these horses had formed with their grooms – it’s essential they have that trust and the work the grooms do is just incredible. The grooms know their horses so well, which means they can provide vital information about each individual horse to the vet and farrier, helping to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
“I think if you’re looking to rehome a horse, World Horse Welfare is definitely the place to go – these guys are just so honest and will tell you exactly what the horse is like. They really do want to pair you up with the best horse possible for you and make sure you’re a perfect match.”
Feeling inspired to rehome? Check out our horses and ponies who are ready to find new homes now.