Coping with coronavirus at The Mare and Foal Sanctuary

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary is following Government advice to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and supporters is paramount because without them we can’t provide expert care to the 222 rescued horses and ponies in sanctuary at our six farms across Devon.

We are also responsible for the care of over 446 horses and ponies through our rehoming scheme and will minimise travel to carers’ homes, as part of social distancing to reduce the spread of coronavirus, and will support carers by phone instead.

We’re also implementing work from home arrangements for staff from central support teams so they don’t come into contact with colleagues who work directly with the horses, to keep everyone well for as long as possible.

If you are considering donating to help us continue our work during these difficult times, please consider giving a gift online although our supporter services staff are working as usual for donations by post and by phone.

We are a resilient organisation. Many staff worked through a major strangles outbreak some years ago and every day we practice excellent biosecurity which we step up or down as we need to.

This time it’s our staff, volunteers and supporters that we’re thinking about. We know that the COVID-19 virus will spread, but hopefully for most of us it will be a short, minor illness and the most difficult thing will be the restrictions on movement that are helping to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.

We will keep you updated with changes through our website and social media channels.

Thank you for your continued support of The Mare and Foal Sanctuary,

Sarah Jane Williamson

Chief Executive


Current activities (updated 07.07.2020)

Unfortunately, we are not able to accept any new equine rescue admissions at this time due to the restrictions faced by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are already overcapacity across all of our sites and are currently providing sanctuary for 222 horses and ponies directly in our care and continue to support 351 carers of the 446 horses and ponies we have on loan.

The limits on movement of animals have only very recently been reduced to allow movement of some animals for rehoming purposes which includes equines.

Please see our rehoming section for a further update on our rehoming status.

Once the extensive lockdown measures have ended, we will review our equine admissions and hope to be in a position to continue to receive new admissions and return our normal level of service.

Our dedicated specialist equine department are still working and are on hand to answer any equine related concerns or queries you may have.

As of the 15th June 2020 our charity shops reopened in Babbacombe, Bovey Tracey, Kingsbridge, South Brent as donation stations. Due to the overwhelming support following their reopening, we are temporarily not accepting any new donations to allow us to process and restock our shops. Our Reuse and Recycle Store has also temporarily closed.

Our charity shops in Kingsbridge, Newton and Abbot and Babbacombe remain open for trade.

We have implemented a range of health and hygiene procedures to keep staff and customers safe and these include hand sanitiser stations, sneeze screens and reduced capacity in-store. The Newton Abbot shop will remain closed.

You can find more information about the reopening of our six charity shops, including opening hours here.

We are still welcoming all job applications for our current job vacancies, including groom and stable hand position at our farms. However, interviews will now be carried out remotely via conference calling. Trial days will begin as soon as the current social distancing advice changes. To see our current vacancies please click here to visit our jobs page.

Coombe Park Equestrian and Education centre, near Totnes, is closed while renovations are carried out. These are still being done.

Our events programme is on hold until further notice.


Risk Assessments

The Sanctuary has re-started its’ retail operations in addition to increasing the number of its’ staff now returning to their normal work sites.

In line with Government requirements, Covid – 19 specific Risk Assessments have been created and can be viewed by clicking the links below:

Risk Assessment – Retail
Risk Assessment – Retail Appendix
Risk Assessment – Offices
Risk Assessment – Yards

These documents outline the potential work place risks from Coronavirus and the control measures in place to ensure that any such risks are properly mitigated.

Further information (if required) can be obtained from the Sanctuary’s HR and Compliance Department.


Join our mailing list

If you would like to receive regular updates and news from the Sanctuary, by post and by email, you can join our mailing list by clicking on the button below.

Along with our monthly e-news, you’ll receive our Honeysuckle newsletter three times a year, as well as our latest appeals and fundraising requests.