Volunteers sought to muck in at sanctuary

SCOTLAND’S largest equine sanctuary, based on the outskirts of Brechin, is appealing for animal lovers keen to try their hand at volunteering to roll up their sleeves and muck in to help care for its 140 horses and ponies.

The Mountains Animals Sanctuary at Glenogil is on the lookout for local residents who either have experience or an interest in horses and are looking for a worthy cause to get their teeth into.

As part of the centre’s Dayzee Appeal: Help our horses keep their homes which was launched last month, they are appealing for volunteers to lend a hand for a few hours or days per week.

Already the sanctuary has six volunteers and three students helping out, but it needs more, especially when the winter weather sets in as up to 130 feeds are dished out and delivered each day.

Anita Udale, who is head girl and started work at the sanctuary five years ago, said: “We’ve found ourselves in a difficult financial position and need to continue to care for our horses in the best possible way and we desperately need volunteers.

“To care for the number of horses we have is time intensive but so rewarding. With certain horses needing specialist food and regular care plans there’s always lots to do. It’s fun too - all of the horses have different personalities and habits and certainly keep you on your toes.”

Depending on their interest or experience, volunteers can help out with providing tours, work in the visitor’s centre, or care for the animals by grooming, feeding and providing necessary medication, as well as offering love and care to enable the rehabilitation of the horses.

Sally Joice, a volunteer at Mountains Animal Sanctuary, said: “As a retiree, I found myself with time on my hands and, still being very active both mentally and physically, I decided to put my skills to good use. I now help out at Mountains Animal Sanctuary a couple of days a week and alternate weekends.

“My work is varied: I work on the yard, but I also get involved in manning the visitor centre and tours. This variety enables me to interact with horses as well as people. Not only am I learning new skills, but I’m also able to use and share my experience.”

Based in 260-acres in Glenogil, the sanctuary offers food, shelter, medical treatment and care for 140 equines, many of which have been rescued from cruelty, neglect or ignorance.

Where possible the animals are re-homed but many of these animals will stay at the sanctuary for the rest of their lives.

The sanctuary relies solely on the generosity of the public through donations and volunteering.

It was founded in 1982 by Alan B Fraser and although originally sited in Kent, then it relocated to Milton of Ogil in 1991 with 110 animals. Mr Fraser passed away in October 2010 leaving the sanctuary in the hands of a dedicated team of staff and fellow trustees.

Further details can be obtained by visiting www.mountainsanimalsanctuary.org.uk