Equine charity’s first Crowdfunder raises nearly £200k 

Calvados and Max at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary announced a staggering £200,000 has been raised through a Crowdfunder campaign which has been spent on a vital and very unusual piece of lifesaving kit. 

The new equine mannequin will be used to help train emergency teams to rescue horses and ponies from trenches, ditches and cliffs and from water and mud entrapment. 

Named ‘Max’, following a very generous donation of £175,000 by Lesley Willianin in memory of her friend Jeff Ward, has been engineered by specialist UK company Resquip.

Max is designed to be as life-like as possible with realistic joint articulation and muscle definition. Rescuers rarely get the chance to practice realistic livestock rescue scenarios, so The Mare and Foal Sanctuary hopes to offer professional extraction teams the opportunity to learn best practice alongside them in future training exercises. 


said Lesley:

“I wanted to help with the purchase because this was something that would have a direct impact on the welfare of the horses in the Southwest, that Jeff cared so much about.”

“I’m proud that Jeff’s donation will make such a huge difference to the lives of horses, ponies and the people who care about them. This donation was about enabling one of his favourite charities to purchase much needed equipment and leave a lasting legacy.”

Syra Bowden, The Mare and Foal Sanctuary’s Head of Equine Welfare says:

“Too often we witness terrible cases of horses and ponies becoming trapped in tight spaces or stuck fast in rivers or bogs. A horse can weigh anything up to around 600kg, which is more than 90 stones, so such rescues are highly dangerous and can result in the death of the equine and injury to rescue team members.”  

“Specialist training exercises using Max, our new horse mannequin, will help us to build emergency response partnerships and develop more effective extraction techniques. This kit could help to save lives in the future, so we would like to thank the generosity of our Crowdfunding supporters and particularly to Lesley for gifting so much in Jeff’s memory.”

It’s also hoped Max will be making a few public appearances as a visual demonstration of the importance of equine safety and welfare.  

You can find out more about Max on the Mare and Foal Sanctuary website.

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