Horse lovers are being invited to explore the link between their morning coffee and working equines and their owners in Columbia.

The initiative has been launched by international equine welfare charity World Horse Welfare, as it appeals to help horses, donkeys and mules, and the humans who rely on them, in remote areas.

The charity is working with four Colombian communities based in mountainous environments, which are poorly connected by road. Families rely on their equids for their livelihoods by transporting goods – including coffee beans – and keeping them connected to their communities, as well as taking their children to school.

“Colombia has one of the highest rates of economic inequality in the world and working equids play a vital role in the livelihoods of many families, with approximately two-thirds of those who rely on these animals earning less than £1.61 a day,” said Isabella Wild, International Programme Officer at World Horse Welfare. “Less than the price of a cup of coffee here in the UK.”

World Horse Welfare works with local partners and, in Colombia, that is Fundación Arrieros Colombia. By working in partnership, the charity can gain a deep understanding of individual local communities, achieve greater impact and make sure that when the project is finished local people are left with skills and knowledge that deliver long-lasting and impactful change.

The 1.6 million equids in Colombia are hugely valued, but a shortage of resources, support and certain specific skills mean that many of these are in poor condition; malnutrition, colic and hoof issues are particularly common. Around five million people directly rely on their equids in the country, with many others supported indirectly.

World Horse Welfare’s partner organisation is working with local people and farmers to build farriery skills, enabling locals to become farriers themselves and ensuring that these new skills will be passed forwards. Without the availability to buy tools and shoes, the training also ensures that farriers can make their own, significantly improving the lives of their equids.

Ulver, a 32-year-old farmer from the village of El Roblal in the Municipality of Cocorná, said: “The most appreciated animal in Colombia is the horse. Without my horse I could not survive. I think what you are doing with our animals is very important, everything that is beneficial for the animal will be good, I hope the charity comes more times a year with ideas and things to prevent diseases. The health of my animal is like mine; we must have it as a priority.”

World Horse Welfare is asking the public if they could spare the cost of a cup of coffee to help them continue this work.

“A donation of any size makes a difference,” they added. “Your support is urgently needed to help grow and develop the charity’s work to reach more communities throughout Colombia and will not only ensure that equids are cared for today but will build a long-lasting culture of animal welfare and strong horse-human partnerships which help to improve lives and make change happen.”

For more information and to donate, click here.

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue

Check out our latest subscription offer