Our planned merger creates one of the largest equine rescue charities in the UK

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Our planned merger creates one of the largest equine rescue charities in the UK


We are proud to announce plans to merge with another South West equine charity in a bid to safeguard more neglected, mistreated or abandoned horses and ponies in the region.

The Sanctuary, already the largest equine charity in the West Country, is in merger talks with Dartmoor based South West Equine Protection to take over the running of SWEP and continue to look after the hundreds of animals in its care.

Both charities were founded by two women with a passion for the welfare of horses and ponies – Rosemary Kind and Maureen Rolls. They both fought tirelessly to improve welfare conditions for the moorland ponies over more than four decades.

mare-foal-sanctuary-rosemary-kind-swep-merger   Rosemary Kind

But with Maureen planning to join Rosemary in retirement, both the Sanctuary and SWEP have been in talks to combine their knowledge, resources and manpower to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome even more small, injured weak and unwanted horses.

Senior Director of Income and Public Engagement Simon Avery, who is Rosemary Kind’s son and works at the Sanctuary with his sister Syra Bowden, said: “Maureen and her team have worked so hard to make things better for horses and ponies, just like our family and The Mare & Foal Sanctuary.

“We are very happy to be working together in the future for the same results. We have always worked closely with SWEP and this move seems to be a good step for both charities.”

Both charities, which currently care for a total of 193 horses and ponies with a further 487 on loan, will make a further announcement as soon as the merger plans are finalised.

Simon added: “This is an exciting development for us and we are all working hard to make sure this goes ahead. The driving force for both the Sanctuary and SWEP has, and will always be, the welfare of horses and ponies, including those on our moorland.”

Maureen, who is retiring after founding SWEP more than 40 years ago, said she was delighted we were stepping in to take the reins.

She said: “I have known Simon, Syra and their mum Rosemary for such a long time and this really felt like the right thing to do.

“I’m not getting any younger and I was worried about who would carry on our good work and look after our horses and ponies if I was to pop my clogs.

“It is a huge relief that the Mare & Foal Sanctuary will be making sure they stay safe.  SWEP and the Sanctuary have often worked closely together and our rescue policies and ways of doing things are very similar.

“And both organisations believe in exactly the same doctrine – no horse or pony is valueless and they all have a right to a life free from pain, fear, hunger and uncertainty.”

We are now working on plans for the future of both charities and the continuing care of all their horses and ponies.


SWEP delegation meeting the senior management team at the Mare & Foal Sanctuary. (LtoR) SWEP Executive Manager Nicole Casey; Sanctuary Chief Executive Sarah Jane Williamson; Finance Director Sarah Martin; HR Director Jerry Longrigg; Senior Director of Income and Public Engagement Simon Avery; Chairman of the Trustees Nigel Brown; Senior Director of Equine Syra Bowden and retiring SWEP founder Maureen Rolls.