A WOMAN who has been running a horse hospital for 37 years is now looking to hand over the reins to someone else.

Jenny MacGregor, 83, took over the Society for the Welfare of Horses and Ponies (SWHP) charity and over the years has helped see thousands of horses and ponies from all over South Wales rescued from extreme cruelty and neglect and brought back to health where possible, and then loaned to new homes.

Some of the rescued horses have been successes at pony clubs, eventing, dressage and show jumping competitions while other have gone to carefully vetted new homes. The horses always remain the property of SWHP to make sure they are well cared for until the end of their days.

But now Mrs MacGregor is in advanced talks with another horse rescue charity which has more of a national presence over the future running of SWHP.

During her time with the charity, Mrs Macgregor's work has not only earned her an MBE in 2005, but also a British Horse Society Welfare Award and another welfare award from the British Equine Vetinary Association.

Horses have always been a part of Mrs MacGregor's life and it was after her children left home that she got involved in a charity called the Society for the Humane Disposal of Horses and Ponies founded by Sheila Richards.

Mrs MacGregor said: “She fell ill when I had been working for one year and she died. I took over, with £300 in the bank. It now costs £250,000 to run the charity for a year.”

After taking over the reins of the charity, Mrs MacGregor changed the purpose of the charity to try to save the foals, and then rehome them. The work changed to be the horse hospital it is today, taking in animals that the police or even the RSPCA did not know what to do with.

The charity survives on donations and fund raising to cover its operation, with Mrs MacGregor as chairwoman not taking a salary so everything can go to the recovery and care of the horses.

SWHP was using the five acres at their family home to house the horse hospital but instead of downsizing as they headed towards retirement, Mrs MacGregor and her husband Alasdair ended up buying a smaller house with more land – 37 acres including woodland – at St Maughans to be able to better care for more horses.

For a full interview with Mrs MacGregor, see the latest edition of Monmouthshire County Life.