Everyone deserves a good retirement, even horses

17/12/21

It’s four o’clock in the morning when Corinne stirs from bed. She awakens to her duties at RMJ stables in Siggiewi where the 87 horses that reside there are to be taken out to their paddock, and given hay and water for the day. Two hours later, Corinne is getting ready for her full-time job. After work, she’s back at RMJ to clean the paddocks and stables, exercise some of the horses, groom them and help the veterinarian provide any medical attention.

Horse in stable

If you think that this is a one-off occurrence, you would be wrong. Corinne is one of the 15 or so volunteers at the RMJ Horse Rescue that give 3-4 hours of their time everyday to the care of these majestic creatures.

RMJ Horse Rescue is a locally registered voluntary organisation with the aim to rescue and rehabilitate horses. While it looks like an acronym, the name of the organisation is that of a horse that inspired the founder, Corinne Farrugia, to establish a safe haven for unwanted and neglected horses. Set up about 6 years ago the organisation has taken in about 500 horses and rehomed over 200 of them abroad, and about 300 locally. Fifty horses, however, are permanent residents at RMJ Horse Rescue because they are difficult to rehome due to injuries and conditions that need constant veterinary care.

The horses in their care come mainly from France or Sweden. Local racers buy these creatures to race and, either due to the ending of their racing careers or because their owners would be unable to care for them themselves, they find their way to RMJ. These horses are then rehomed abroad, mainly in the UK, as part of the project “Back to the Green”. As part of their commitment, RMJ keeps in touch with all owners, and insists that the horse never races again as part of their agreement.

The major hurdles the organisation faces are two-fold, time and money. The organisation only has 15 volunteers, and any help is always seen as a blessing. The more challenging of the two hurdles is funding. Just to give an idea, about €20,000 worth of food, bedding, medical and farrier expenses is required to look after the horses in residence per month. It costs a further €2,000 to send each horse abroad. Considering that RMJ currently houses 87 horses, simple mathematics reveals that this second hurdle is a challenging one indeed.

RMJ Horse Rescue needs help when it comes to trying to overcome the aforementioned hurdles. The organisation looks at any contribution, whether of time or money, as acts of kindness and the appreciation could never be put into words. While volunteer work is always helpful, the organisation runs a number of events over the year to help fund the care of these beautiful creatures. RMJ’s Christmas Village held between 10 and 13 December is just one example.

PwC Malta is one of RMJ’s sponsors. RMJ strives to make a difference, cares about their animals, and works to reimagine the possible. PwC supports RMJ in the form of volunteers, and has sponsored the set-up of a stall at the newly refurbished stables. Here a horse can sleep sheltered from the elements at any time of the day or year. Further expansion of the stables is planned with 8 new stalls arriving around February 2022, each costing about €6,000. RMJ seeks sponsorships to fund half of the cost, whilst the other half will hopefully be funded through the kindness of people’s donations during fundraising initiatives. The horse rescue premises were once derelict buildings of an abandoned English wartime airstrip, and the hangars are being re-purposed by RMJ for a good cause. This embellishes the environment putting otherwise redundant land to good use. The organisation also uses renewable energy as evidenced by the numerous solar panels collecting power for the stalls’ lighting.


RMJ stable

RMJ Horse Rescue does an admirable job ensuring old, injured, and abandoned horses have a good life as opposed to the unthinkable. The organisation runs on the goodwill of volunteers and donors. 

If you would like more information on RMJ Horse Rescue, including how you could support them, please visit their facebook page.

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David Valenzia

David Valenzia

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Elizabeth Camilleri

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