The Donkey Sanctuary recently welcomed equine assisted service organisations and practitioners from across the UK to their headquarters in Devon, for the UK Spring Forum of HETI (Horses in Education and Therapy International AISBL).

Held at the charity’s Donkey-Assisted Activities centre in Sidmouth, the event offered like-minded organisations the opportunity to network and help create a better understanding of the equine perspective within equine-assisted interactions.

The day was a chance to highlight the importance of knowledge sharing and how to be proactive, by working collectively as an industry. Topics included social licensing, and human and equine research.

“It was wonderful to be able to welcome so many organisations to our Donkey-Assisted activity centre at the weekend,” said Victoria Banfield, The Donkey Sanctuary’s DAA Development Lead.

“As a federation member of HETI, we are part of the steering committee that oversees decision making for the UK, so we jumped at the chance to showcase our achievements and ever evolving practices when asked to host the event.”

The Donkey Sanctuary became a federation member of HETI in 2021, and subsequently a part of the Human and Equine Interaction Register to further establishing links with other organisations in the field of equine-assisted activities and therapies, and the promotion of standards of practice.

“It was a great opportunity for us to be able to host the HETI UK Spring Forum to raise the status of donkeys within the EAS industry and to demonstrate best practices through knowledge sharing with regards to our practices, and to support the welfare and wellbeing of our donkeys,” added Nicky French, Head of Donkey-Assisted Activities.

“Key discussions were had around social licence and accountability of more independent organisations, looking at how they need to ensure they support their own equine welfare and wellbeing within Equine Assisted Services.”

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