Rescued horse finds new role working with disadvantaged children.

A horse rescued from horrific neglect is now happy, healthy and working alongside vulnerable children at HorseWorld in Bristol.

Gunner, a Welsh Section D gelding was rescued in March 2013 in an emaciated state with terrible rainscald (sore and infected skin caused by being left cold and wet for long periods). He was less than 3 years old at the time and should have been full of energy but the young cob showed no interest in life.

His digestive system was under-developed and struggling due to prolonged malnutrition. Despite the best efforts of the vets, it took weeks to settle his stomach. He didn’t start putting on any weight until this was under control.

Once finally fit, healthy and old enough, the young cob was assessed by the HorseWorld training team to see if he could start work. It soon became evident that he would be well suited to working with children in HorseWorld’s Discovery Courses as part of a team of horses of various breeds and sizes.

Discovery is a unique programme that boosts the confidence, emotional well-being and life-chances of vulnerable young people through bringing them together with gentle rescued horses. Many of the children who take part are at risk of exclusion due to their social, emotional, mental health and learning needs.

Being with horses is proven to reduce stress and promote calmness, concentration and empathy. The children are partnered with ponies in a beautiful outdoor space, surrounded by nature. They undertake carefully designed activities that engage them in learning and help them to realise what they can achieve. The range of skills that they can develop are transferable to many areas of their lives such as collaboration, communication and leadership. They learn to build positive relationships based on trust and improve their self-esteem.

“Gunner has a calm and caring nature.” Said Discovery Course Leader, Sharon Howell. “Having come from the terrible start he had, it’s remarkable how far this horse has come. He knows when the children are nervous and looks after them, a rescued horse paying it forward to rescue young people. Gunner is very popular and really enjoys the attention. He’s a really valuable team member.”

For more information about HorseWorld’s Discovery Courses please visit:

Article by: Amy Williams

Posted on: 25th July 2018