As the largest equine charity in the UK, The British Horse Society (BHS) is committed to improving the lives of horses everywhere, as well as those who care about them.
This includes the 345 members of the British Horse Society who live in the Isle of Man.
Who are you / What do you do?
Our key charitable campaigns and initiatives underpin our core foundations of education, participation, welfare, access and safety, allowing us to make a real impact on the equine industry in many different ways.
With the vital help of our dedicated staff, members and volunteers, we guide, advise and support horse owners and carers. This includes, but is not limited to, promoting and improving horse care, creating, protecting and extending rights of way, advocating riding for all and offering world-class qualifications.
Our talks and training with experts are just one way of advising equestrians. A great example of this in the Isle of Man is the 2022 equine welfare week, which saw six experts deliver welfare activities to over 150 people.
Initiatives like this are made possible by the dedicated BHS Isle of Man team, made up of 10 passionate volunteers, two welfare advisors, four BHS accredited professional coaches and of course, our 345 members.
There are also two BHS approved centres in the island, which both play a major role in growing equestrian participation across the community.
Why / When did you form?
We’re thrilled to be celebrating 75 years of the BHS, having been founded in November 1947.
This was at a time when the country was emerging from the Second World War, and it was decided that the Horse and Pony Club would be amalgamated with the National Horse Association of Great Britain to ultimately form The British Horse Society.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II graciously agreed to become our Parton in 1952, and some ten years later the society became a registered charity.
Since then, the BHS has continued to evolve into the society we know today, focusing on our five key charitable aims.
In the Isle of Man, an interest in volunteering was renewed in 2019 and the local BHS team was revitalised.
The local, passionate equestrians have been vital to the progression of the society’s charitable goals across the island.
What has been your biggest achievement since forming?
In the Isle of Man, the BHS team’s biggest success to date is driving education around equine weight management.
Between April and November 2022, 187 horses were weighed in the island and their owners advised on how to accurately assess and manage their weight.
Following this work, we have seen a 2% decrease in equine obesity in seven months.
As part of this great work, the team have raised over £3000 to purchase an equine weighbridge.
This is a valuable addition, helping the Isle of Man team to continue this essential work.
Almost half of this was raised at a single event, the BHS Isle of Man annual Christmas quiz, which has grown year on year since 2020.
Initially, around 50 people attended but in 2022 there were over 120 people present.
This substantial support has been incredible and we’re extremely grateful to be able to work collectively to create a better future for horses and all equestrians.
What is your biggest ambition for the future?
It’s important to recognise that the equestrian community is coming under constant pressure, with high running costs, a workforce gap and even a limited number of safe riding routes all having an impact.
Despite this, we believe there is a bright future riding by the side of all equestrians and everyone who loves horses.
We will continue to support all those that want to learn about, and interact with horses.
By increasing our diversity and inclusion of all our interactions, we want to encourage an even wider audience to participate in equestrianism, whether that be riding, working in the industry or everything in between.
Everything we do is in pursuit of our charitable objectives, and these remain a priority for us as we look ahead to the next 75 years.
The goal of the local team is to build on the important work we have already started across each of our charitable objectives.
Growing our membership will provide us with the financial support to do this, and growing our local volunteers will allow us to deliver more for the equine community.
This year marks the fifth year of the BHS Isle of Man group, and we have some big plans in the pipeline to celebrate this!
How can people get involved?
Without our members, volunteers and generous donations and fundraisers, the BHS wouldn’t be where it is today.
Nationwide, they enable us to help 5,300 horses through proactive advice and education, support 1,400 children and young people through the power of horses, and respond to over 10,000 incoming welfare concerns.
In total, we have more than 1,200 dedicated volunteers that contribute their time to support our charitable objectives.
Whether it be attending a new welfare case, organising local fundraising events including pleasure rides, campaigning to restore a local multi-user route or helping to generate social media content, all our volunteers sit at the heart of what we do at the BHS.
We’re also incredibly grateful to all those who donate to the BHS.
Approximately 94 pence in every pound raised for the society is spent on delivering our charitable goals, from keeping our countryside open and safe to ensuring that no horse is forgotten or neglected.
Our membership offering allows people to be a part of the largest equestrian community in the UK and provides a huge range of benefits to help you enjoy your life with horses.
But more than that, membership is vital for helping us raise funds needed to improve access, safety, welfare and education for all.
Where can people find you and where can they donate?
Whether it’s for a couple of hours, two days a week or helping at a one-off event, we’re always looking for volunteers to join the BHS team.
Locally, we have vacancies for welfare advisors, education and events officers, as well as access officers.
If you have great leadership skills, the Isle of Man team would welcome the support of a vice chairperson too.
To find out more about these positions and how you can support The British Horse Society, visit www.bhs.org.uk/volunteering
You can learn more about what we are up to locally and subscribe to our monthly newsletter by following us on Facebook @bhsiom.
Check out the events we have when bookings open at www.tickettailor.com/events/bhsisleofman
Do you have a charity in the Isle of Man?