About Us

“Kindness, Care and Knowledge”

We are so proud of the work we do but none of it would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our founder Rosemary Kind.

She was determined to improve the lives of horses throughout Devon and Cornwall and set about making sure the small, injured, weak or unwanted always had a home with us.



Our Mission Statement

“To rescue and provide care for and prevent cruelty and suffering among horses and ponies in need of attention by reason of sickness, maltreatment, ill usage and other like causes and to provide temporary or permanent homes for such horses and ponies.”



The Mare and Foal Sanctuary was founded in 1988 by Rosemary, who has rescued and looked after horses and ponies all her life.

In 1992 the Sanctuary became a registered charity and we have since rescued and found loving homes for hundreds of foals, ponies and horses.

The Sanctuary’s aims are not just to rescue neglected, unwanted or abused horses but  to rehabilitate, train and eventually rehome them into loving, knowledgeable environments. We focus on educating people on the care and welfare of these beautiful creatures.

Our Work


We own more than 300 horses and ponies and five farms in Devon, including our new Beech Trees Veterinary and Welfare Centre.

Most of our horses are cared for at loan-homes away from the Sanctuary, but we maintain ownership to safeguard their futures and carry out regular home checks to make sure they are happy and healthy.

As well as caring for our horses day to day, we hold several special events, including our annual sponsored rides, dressage and show jumping competitions, Open Days and summer shows.

We also attend local fundraising events such as summer fetes and agricultural shows throughout the South West.

To help us maintain a steady income we have charity shops in the South and East Devon areas. In addition to our regular full and part-time staff we benefit from a very helpful core of voluntees both in the stables and in the shops, without whom we could not operate.

We also work proactively with other equestrian groups and charities as well as the local and national media to raise awareness of current horse-related issues.

In 2010 we were accepted into the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) with whom we help improve equine welfare in the UK. We were also delighted in 2014 when actor and national treasure John Nettles accepted our invitation to be the Sanctuary’s patron.

After years of tireless work, Sanctuary founder Rosemary Kind retired in 2013. But the charity continues to rescue horses and ponies from throughout the region under the leadership of Chief Executive Sarah Jane Williamson, who is carrying on her wonderful legacy of saving countless equine lives.



We rescue foals, ponies and horses from all over the South West and South Wales.

People can report a welfare concern directly to us or we are often contacted by other welfare organisations for help, including the RSPCA.

Our horses come to us for a number of reasons. They are left abandoned on waste ground or council verges – fly grazing; a foal has been abandoned or lost its dam in a car accident on moorland or a member of the public has contacted us because a horse, or horses, have been spotted in poor or emaciated condition.

Last year we took in more than 20 animals from Bodmin Moor because they simply did not have enough grazing and their owners could not be traced.

We respond to every call and do everything we can to help. As soon as a horse or pony arrives they get the best of care – from a vet check to a cosy stable, lush paddocks to warm rugs.



A lot of our time – and resources – are spent getting our often feral and unhandled horses and ponies ready for their new forever homes.

That often takes a lot of gentle persuasion and patience because naturally when they first arrive with us they often scared and unsure.

We need to be able to reassure them every step of the way that nothing bad is going to happen – which is hard when a man in a white coat is attempting to jab them with a needle.

Over weeks and months we gently begin with getting them to accept the headcollar and to be led, we then slowly move on to picking out their feet, grooming and generally being handled.

Eventually they are confident enough to begin their real training – either as a companion pony or a riding horse.

Back them – or breaking them in as it was once known – is a slow and, sometimes dangerous, process.

But we always do it very slowly and work at the animals pace.



  1. Complete our online Loan Application form.
  1. We will contact you to discuss any horses that may suit you.
  1. Visit the horses! This is when you can meet and thoroughly try out any potential new horse.
  1. We will visit you. This is so we can see that the horse will be a suitable match with their new environment.
  1. Come and collect your new friend and his individual rehoming pack!

We will do everything we can to help you, from checking paddocks, fencing and stabling to giving you a detailed pack outlining everything from the training your new horse or pony has had to any special dietary requirements he or she may have.

And our equine team is always at the end of a phone to offer help and guidance every step of the way.

Do you want to work with us?

We have many exciting job opportunities at The Mare & Foal Sanctuary and can offer you a unique and very special work environment where horses come first and foremost. We value our employees highly and do our best to ensure they enjoy their time working with us and that they’re as safe as they can be.

All of our job vacancies are advertised via Universal Jobmatch – we would kindly ask that you only apply for a job if you’ve seen it advertised already .Some of our more common vacancies are for stable staff (working on the stable yard directly with the horses), shop managers (we have several Charity Shops throughout the South West) as well as a variety of admin and support jobs.

If you’re applying for a job at the Sanctuary and want an application form, you can find that here, together with an intrinsic job application for specific roles, both of which need to be filled out and sent back to us.

Please note that we don’t have any “live-in” positions available and we only employ people over the age of 18.


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Paid Jobs


We welcome volunteers for many roles which is a great way for you to earn experience, improve your CV, use up any spare time you have as well as doing something really important and worthwhile for horse welfare.

We have lots of opportunities available, please apply!


The Mare and Foal Sanctuary are Investors in People