Being a Volunteer at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary


by Dena Schwartz

Remus is like no other charity I have ever been involved with, they go above and beyond for the animals in their care, they truly value each life and ensure every individuals needs are met. They come from the heart, their work is nothing short of heroic and I am honored to be part of their team and delighted to be sharing their story with you.

Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary provides lifetime help and care for horses, ponies, donkeys, goats, sheep, pigs & cows, who are victims of physical and mental abuse, be it as a result of ignorance or malicious intent. The animals are their prime concern and are treated with the utmost respect. Animals are never euthanized for reasons of age or infirmity alone. Nothing is spared to give them every chance to thrive into old age. Their ethos is one of providing the animals with an environment where they are safe and secure, a life built around them, giving them all they need and asking nothing of them in return.

Remus was founded by Sue Burton in 1993 and is completely funded by public donations. It costs over £400,000 per annum to keep the doors open and to continue to offer a permanent home to the 200 rescued animals that now live on site. Many of these animals have suffered horrendous cruelty at the hands of mankind and now need extensive veterinary care, special attention from the farrier and hours of holistic therapies and gentle loving care from experienced people to help them return to a state of physical and mental well-being. Remus has a small staff and many incredibly dedicated volunteers to help them in their mission.

When I first met Sue 12 years ago she was new to the concept of holistic therapies for animals, she was open and kind, yet skeptical and asked me in not so many words to prove myself. During my first few visits I worked primarily with the elderly and laminitic horses and donkeys. I offered medicinal herbs and essential oils via self selection, I demonstrated how the animals could intuitively select the remedies they needed, how they chose their method of application by either inhaling, licking or rubbing themselves against the remedy. The animals showed their innate ability to control their dosage, taking only what they needed and turning away when they were done. These early visits were the beginning of an amazing relationship. The animals showed their appreciation for their animal aromatherapy sessions by improving, often quite dramatically, the changes were both physical and emotional, those that were scared to be touched became braver, the nerves and anxiety subsiding. Physically they were healing; they were more comfortable, more active, more interactive!

12 years on, after many wonderful visits, workshops, lectures and demos Remus continues to embrace the use of nature’s pharmacy as well as other therapies. Medicinal herbs and oils are offered daily via self selection to the poorly and elderly, a whole room is dedicated to natural medicine, stacks of therapeutic herbs clearly labeled, charts of each horse’s responses and choices, notes to highlight any unusual changes in their preferences to ensure we are making the most of the feedback from the animals. Together we have avoided colic, stopped post partum bleeding, relieved foot abscesses, healed burns, improved digestive, skin, respiratory and immune complaints, eased the trauma of past abuse, provided pain relief and so the list goes on.

It is an honor to work with such a dedicated team of people, I enjoy every minute I spend at the sanctuary I am constantly blown away by the number of volunteers following me around asking great questions and taking all that I share with them and putting it into daily practice. Together we make a huge difference, together we have returned the opportunity of self-medication back the many animals at Remus, we have helped them to heal themselves, given them another way to communicate their needs to us. It is an ever evolving journey, the animals teach us a little more about themselves every day, we love and we learn. Thank you Sue Burton for giving me that chance all those years ago, thank you for believing in the holistic approach, thank you for running with it!

If you would like to learn more about Remus, to get involved or to donate please visit

Author: Features Editor

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