Royal Family Fairy Tale as Britain’s Princess Anne Adopts a Horse in Need

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Fran JurgaImagine you’re a royal princess. You could pretty much have any horse in the world.

Now imagine you’re a royal princess who is a former Olympian. A former jump race jockey. And an enduring military officer whose duties call for ceremonial mounted occasions.

Not only could you buy any horse, but you’d be able to ride it pretty well, too. The sky’s the limit. In fact, people would probably be trying to give horses to you if you were that person.

That’s the case for Great Britain’s Princess Anne. She lives in the world of eventing and point-to-point racing and military-trained horses, all sectors of the horse world where the norm is a 16-hand (and up) Irish or warmblood horse. And she does need a new riding horse for use around her farm at Gatcombe Park in England.

Princess Anne trooping the colours 2013

A day's ride for Great Britain's Princess Anne might be a hack on her farm or a full-dress trooping of the colours. (Wikimedia creative commons image)

Did Princess Anne go horse shopping at Westphalia in Germany or the Millstreet Show in Ireland? Did she send agents to the young horse shows or put the word out to all who worked under her last year when she headed the British delegation for the 2012 Olympics?

Princess Anne looks at adoptable World Horse Welfare case

"What about this one?" Princess Anne takes a look at Dan, an adoptable horse at a World Horse Welfare farm. (World Horse Welfare photo)

Far from it. In one of the classiest moves by anyone at the top of the international horse world in a long, long time, Princess Anne adopted a horse in need from the sheltered adoptee list of World Horse Welfare (WHW). The British charity–over which she happens to preside–operates several farms in Great Britain that take in horses in need, ranging from horses that have been the victims of terrible abuse and neglect to horses that have to be abandoned by owners who can no longer afford them.

In a stall inside one of the WHW barns, Princess Anne came literally eyeball-to-eyeball with a sturdy mare who is, oddly enough, named Annie, and whose legs are about half as long as the eventers and steeplechasers the Princess formerly rode. Better yet, Annie is a Welsh Cob, a native British breed. And she’s just exactly what Princess Anne, who is now 63, wants and needs.

Princess Anne with World Horse Welfare's adoptable Annie

"This is the one!" A Welsh Cob mare named Annie caught the eye of Princess Anne. The mare needed a home and Princess Anne needed a riding horse. Annie now has a new home. (World Horse Welfare photo)

For World Horse Welfare, Annie is a drop in the proverbial bucket of horses that need homes. The charity has a much-lauded program in rehabilitating and retraining horses to prepare them for new lives as pleasure horses with new owners, but they report a potential load of as many as 7,000 horses identified as welfare risks in Great Britain this year. The charity’s intake of horses this year has risen by 23 percent, but the number of horses that have been adopted out has fallen by 34 percent.

They probably had a tough decision to choose which horse most deserved Annie’s stall when she left the farm for her new home.

“Charity begins at home” is a saying that is often heard, but often misconstrued. Maybe “Charity starts at the top” is a way of illustrating to people like you and me and all of us who read these pages that someone at the top “gets it”, and understands the crisis in equine welfare that is affecting our horse world.

Princess Anne could have stayed up late studying pedigrees and analyzing conformation but instead she picked a horse that suited her needs, and her perception of at least one small action step she could take to help with the state of emergency that the horse industry finds itself facing.

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Posted in Great Britain, adoption, charity, welfare | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

16 Responses to “Royal Family Fairy Tale as Britain’s Princess Anne Adopts a Horse in Need”

  1. Johnnie says:

    Great story I love happy endings.

  2. Johnnie says:

    Great story I love a happy ending.

  3. Carol Higgs says:

    Bless her heart! I have two rescues, one a poor little starved colt, who is now a beautiful yearling,another a Mini horse my neighbor grew tired of and just stopped feeding!
    That is so inspiring!

  4. Maureen G says:

    Beautiful story!!! And Princess Anne’s smile says it all!! Annie, you have found your forever home!!

  5. christinechastain says:

    Classy lady setting a proper example…

  6. M. J. says:

    How wonderful! This speaks immense more volumes than those who seek notoriety from owning the horses with the fancy pedigrees, high price tags and outstanding show records. I only wish more people, especially those that are able to afford those fancy horses, would use their money instead to help a rescue horse. Or a few for that matter!

  7. Terri Davison says:

    Well done! Not just for Annie but for all the horses who will now be adopted because of this story.

  8. john b says:

    Total class act!

  9. Sue says:

    Thank you, Princess Anne. More people need to adopt and save a horse! I think its wonderful that The Royal Family loves animals.

  10. Nancy Sgroi says:

    I am heartened to hear that the Princess presides over several farms for WHW. What an amazing organization! Wish we had the equivalent in the US. Lovely story. Great example. The pity is that so many will go without homes because they are so expensive to keep.

  11. Steven P Robinson says:

    Bravo to Princess Anne for doing the right thing with a horse that needed rescue. A tip of this Yank’s cap to a Lady who chose a need over any wants.

  12. Kim McBrayer says:

    Until now, I never thought very highly of the royal family, with exception of Princess Diana. This selfless act of Princess Anne put a spark in my heart–thank you for your work with the horses in need and for taking in this beauty!

  13. Kathy Erickson says:

    A true horsewoman. That’s high praise indeed here in Texas.

  14. [...] A few weeks ago, she was the darling of The Jurga Report. Readers and Facebook friends were touched by Great Britain’s Princess Anne’s recent decision to source her new riding horse from the c… [...]

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