Thursday, 3 September 2009

Wales' first Horse Warden takes the reins

You have probably heard of the Horse Whisperer but have you heard of the Horse Warden?

Cardiff Council is leading the way in dealing with the welfare of wild and stray horses. In late 2008 the Council hired Lucy Hamblett to be the first Horse Warden to be employed in Wales.

Lucy’s role is a world away from your average 9 to 5 and as Lucy admits herself she could never see herself working in an office.

As a Horse Warden Lucy responds to any calls regarding wild/stray horses and it’s her job to catch any wild/stray horses in the city. To do this Lucy uses natural horsemanship techniques including those based on the pierelli technique which involves reading the horses signals and making sure the animal doesn’t get stressed. And if those techniques fail it’s not sugar lumps Lucy uses to coax the horses but bread.

Lucy said, “I don’t know why but the horses always seem to respond well to bread, if one horse is particularly stubborn the bread always manages to bring them round.” Once caught Lucy will help to return horses to their owners or re-home them.

Lucy was working as a Farrier when she saw the role advertised in Horse and Hound magazine and thought it was just the challenge she was looking for. Lucy said: “People who know me know that I like things that are a bit different and this job was perfect. I love horses and being able to help them on a daily basis was too good an opportunity to turn down. No one day is the same in my job and it’s an honour to be Cardiff’s and indeed Wales’s first Horse Warden.”

Lucy’s work in Cardiff has been so successful that other councils in Wales and the rest of the UK have asked for her advice in dealing with wild/stray horses. Lucy said: “I have worked with neighbouring councils on how to tackle the problem of wild/stray horses and recently Manchester Council has been in touch for advice. Its very satisfying to know that the work I am doing in Cardiff is being seen as a bench mark for how other towns and cities should tackle the issue.”

Executive Member for Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal, Cllr Judith Woodman, said:

"Wild/stray horses can be a danger to Cardiff residents so to have a dedicated person tackling the issue is fantastic. It’s obvious that Lucy cares a great deal about the horses and having her patrolling Cardiff means the animals welfare is a priority.”


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