With many members and supporters who work for the NHS and as care workers in the UK, the Veteran Horse Society is incredibly grateful for the good they do all over the country
Determined to thank NHS staff and care workers for their roles in keeping people safe and healthy, the Veteran Horse Society (VHS) is rolling personal memberships for both over to 2021 to show its gratitude for everything these essential workers are doing during the pandemic. The VHS remains in a vulnerable state with no grants or funding available to it but, despite this, the society has been working hard to support members who are struggling through restrictions to their usual yard visits. The VHS has also put virtual video qualifiers in place, which are proving immensely popular with members.
Julianne Aston, founder of the VHS in 2000, spoke about the gesture: “The VHS team wanted to say thank you to all our NHS and care workers. I really had no concept of the work they were doing – only what I saw on the news – but then I had a distraught member, Gemma, contact me to say her farrier felt he was unable to come to her yard and she had no idea what to do or who to ask. So, through the power of social media I placed a post asking our members for help and within an hour, a farrier had responded.
“Gemma has worked on the very front line of the NHS throughout the lockdown. She and her team have been an inspiration to us all and, like many, play a vital role in controlling the virus. Gemma’s inspired so many with her work commitment and, although due to leave her NHS role, she has stayed at the hospital – she told me she couldn’t leave people to struggle. It’s people like Gemma and her partner Josh, who’s also on the front line, that make our society so very special, and for this reason we want to give these workers a massive thank you.”
VHS member Gemma Sly, said: “I’m an operating department practitioner and theatre nurse. I was moved to another hospital, and from operating theatres into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The COVID-19 experience has been awful, but the NHS has pulled through. The work they’ve done to ensure we’re all safe, protected and healthy is fantastic.
“I’ve spent my days off with my lovely horse George who is 26 this year. He truly is the horse of a lifetime, he is amazing. I feel so thankful to have George, as without him I’d have struggled mentally during this pandemic. Even better has been my partner Josh, who also shares this with me and has taken to horses since we’ve been together. He wasn’t a horse person before, but I’ve introduced him to the equine world and he loves George just as much as I do.
“Due to George being a veteran I became a member of the VHS last year, and have followed and competed with them for the past year. When COVID-19 hit, George was due for his routine appointment for new shoes but my usual farrier was unable to come out. As well as being flat-footed, George is an older horse and I didn’t want to wait until his shoes were painful before I could get him shod. Julianne really helped me with this, sharing my posts to help find a solution.Their online, in-hand qualifying shows have been a great way to keep people feeling positive and give everyone something to look forward to. Without the VHS I don’t know what I’d have done – the support, their positive outlook, their fantastic ideas have kept me going and sane.”
For more information, visit veteran-horse-society.co.uk