A SMALL but dedicated group are caring for horses that have been rescued from a previous life of abject misery and neglect.

Based on the outskirts of Ochiltree, they have set up a rehabilitation operation in conjunction Horse Rescue Scotland.

Cal Fox cares for the animals on land which has been donated on a long term basis by Pam Currie and Aileen Connor.

To develop the project even further they have started a campaign to raise vital cash which would significantly improve the resources available.

A Crowdfunding appeal has been launched for £3,300 which would enable them to provide a hard-surfaced area for the horses.

An added bonus is the possibility a specialist company will provide slabs at a discount if the Crowdfunding project is a success.

This would solve the issue of the soil turning into a mudbath on a constant basis which causes numerous problems to the horses.

Exposure to mud can cause infection in their hooves while the soft underfoot conditions lead to sprains and strains to ligaments and tendons.

Also on the shopping list are gutters and rainwater collectors for the horses’ shelter, widening a paddock gateway and major roof repairs.

These upgrades would help the group to provide the best, most domestically natural and enriched environment for the horses and ponies in their care.

Volunteer Cal said: “This approach to horse care encourages horses to explore and exhibit natural behaviours that may have shut down due to their previous experiences.

“They have access to other horses to socialise with and learn from in an environment that increases movement and roaming. Once here their journey begins with plenty of time spent just being a horse.”

With donations starting to come in, the team are hoping that they will be able to carry out the necessary work and Cal appreciates every penny.

She added: “Each horse is treated with respect, compassion and understanding and is supported through their rehabilitation according to their individual needs with the aim of striving for long-term change rather than short-term fixes.

“Please help us to make these changes to our foster horses lives. You’ve heard it many times before but that’s because it’s true ­—every bit really does help ­— so whatever you can spare will make all the difference to reaching our goal.”

Visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/creating-an-enriched-environment-for-rescue-horses for more information or to make a donation.