World Horse Welfare (WHW) has pledged to double the number of horses it helps overseas by the end of 2017.

The story of Blanca, a working horse in Honduras, is at the heart of a new WHW appeal.

The charity has released details of the number of horses and horse owners helped last year through its overseas projects to accompany its latest appeal, featuring Honduran working horse Blanca.

The charity spends £1m on helping vulnerable horses, donkeys and mules in 10 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Chief executive Roly Owers said WHW aimed to expand its international work in response to the significant need for better welfare among working horses.

“The massive influence our programmes have on both horses and people further motivates us to double the number of horses we directly impact as well as the number of project countries we work in by 2017,” he said.

“We recognise the scale of the challenge, which is why we are seeking partnerships wherever possible, both within other charities and humanitarian organisations, as well as with in-country organisations that can benefit from our capabilities and help us expand our reach.”

WHW’s head of programme development Karen O’Malley sees first-hand the harrowing and relentless work horses, donkeys and mules carried out in some of the most hostile parts of the world but meeting Blanca in Choluteca, Honduras, made a lasting impact.

She said the eight-year-old horse pulled a heavy, unyielding cart for six hours a day to move firewood and building materials for her owners, as well as acting as their main mode of transport.

“Her owners cannot afford the food she needs to do this demanding work so she is skin and bone. To make matters worse, the straps from her poorly fitting harness cut into her,” she said.

“Her feet are in very poor condition making her job even harder, but her owner’s life is equally as tough and he has a responsibility to his family.”

WHW’s projects equip communities, such as those where Blanca lives and works, with the skills and knowledge to improve the welfare of their most valuable asset – their working horse.

Many horse-owners have little or no access to a trained farrier, need guidance about good nutrition and expertise to help them find sustainable ways of making harnesses that don’t cause pain or injury.

The charity’s in-country teams create sustainable infrastructures that provide horses and their owners with a better future and even a small donation goes a long way towards helping both the horse and their owner.

To find out more about the appeal, visit

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