The special bond we share with our horses has been highlighted in new research by equine charity Brooke.

It revealed that many owners have stronger bonds with their pet than people in their family, and spend more time looking after their animals than their child (40 percent versus 27 percent).

The survey also showed that 75 percent of people agree that in some capacity they have a closer bond with their pet than their partner. Over a quarter said their pet is the first to notice when their mood changes, before their partner or family.

Three quarters of respondents agreed in some capacity that they have a closer bond with their pet than people in their family. In addition, 78 percent said their animals provide more emotional support than friends and family. When seeking comfort, three in five said they sometimes prefer a cuddle from their pet than their partner.

“The last couple of years have been undoubtedly difficult for many – from COVID to the cost-of-living crisis now,” said a Brooke spokesman. “People are seeking comfort from many different sources, unsurprisingly a big one being their pets.”

Helping equines

Tessema and his horse Bora in Ethiopia. Brooke trained Tessema and he now champions good ownership in his community.

Despite the love we share for our four-legged friends, equines and the people who depend on them are struggling across the world. These include the working horses, donkeys and mules affected by flooding in Pakistan.

The country has over six million working equines providing support to an estimated 36 million people. They are mostly used for transportation of people and goods, and some are used in brick kilns, coalmines and agriculture. In the floods they helped farmers evacuate as flood warnings were announced, and were used in the aftermath to access areas that had been cut off when roads were destroyed.

While Brooke Pakistan usually focusses on training in animal welfare for owners, they have now had to move into emergency response work. The main issues faced by animals and their owners are lack of access to clean drinking water and food, as well as shade and shelters.

Thanks to Brooke supporters in the UK, Brooke Pakistan has now helped 11,077 horses, donkeys and mules, out of which 6,990 were provided treatment and 10,141 were given bags of feed so far. They have also provided human food rations for 3,064 equine owners.

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