Alastair Stewart: "He’ll cheerfully barge through a fence to see us!"

‘How The Other Horse Lives’ is a campaign launched by Brooke, Action for Working Horses and Donkeys and aims to raise awareness of the need of working equines in developing countries by showing what they endure on a daily basis compared to well-kept horses here in the UK. 

Sadly, working horses, donkeys and mules in developing countries often suffer in their day to day working lives because their owners don't have access to the skills or resources to properly look after them.

Following the launch of the campaign, Brooke's patron, Alastair Stewart, tells us all about his own horses. 

Alastair has 15 horses and ponies Pic: ©Brooke / Stella Scordellis

Alastair has 15 horses and ponies Pic: ©Brooke / Stella Scordellis

How many horses do you have?

15 horses and ponies.

What are their names?

The first four that spring to mind are Harriet, Penny, Phoebe and Dormouse. Dormouse is 15 but our animals range from youngsters to veterans.

Dormouse is an Exmoor rare breed and as part of their protection programme they are gelded.

This prevents there being too many stallions in the wild herd on Exmoor but ensures the future of the breed.

What's Dormouse like? 

Dormouse is a lovely companion – he’s a world champion fence destroyer and costs us a fortune in repairs! He’ll cheerfully barge through a fence to come and talk to us.

Where do your horses spend most of their time?

Most of our horses spend all of their time out in the fields, with the exception of the older ones who come into the barn on cold and wet nights – as do our showjumpers.

We’ve got New Zealand rugs for every animal to make sure they stay warm in chillier and wet weather.

What are your top tips for keeping your horses healthy?

  1. Make sure all the fields are completely clear of ragwort at all times
  2. Always have fresh water in each field
  3. The more delicate horses like the showjumpers have supplements but mainly they get to graze on lovely fresh grass. We like to keep them in as natural environment as possible

Do your horses have a good social life? 

They all have their own friendships but some get along better than others. For example, Penny and Phoebe, the younger showjumpers, love each other – and rather wonderfully the older Harriet is part of that ‘superior ladies’ group!

Dormouse is the only male and he chats to everyone – he’s also a bit of an uncle type figure to many of the others.

We also have a ménage at home so they're all schooled from time to time as well as hacked out.

What’s your favourite thing about Brooke’s work to help working equines around the world?

Brooke and the work that the charity does in aid of working equines in developing countries is very close to my heart.

My family has kept horses and donkeys for many many years and we all have a real love of equines.

The efforts Brooke makes to deliver sustainable change to the lives of less fortunate equines is the thing that most impresses and inspires me – the community training and persistent efforts to change people’s behaviour towards their animals really is making a tremendous difference to millions of animal’s lives.