The Hugs Foundation

RCN 1175633, Bodmin

The Hugs Foundation is both a horse rescue centre and human well-being charity. Our unique provision creates a circular relationship between the environment, rescue animals and people we support.

Who are The Hugs Foundation and what exactly do we do?

The Hugs Foundation is a horse rescue centre based in Bodmin, Cornwall. We rescue, rehabilitate and rehome equines working in collaboration with organisations.

Our aims and objectives are;

  • to provide a safe, nurturing and enriching environment for our animal rescues, enabling us to rehabilitate and rehome as many as possible and to provide well-being support to those in need.1665145161_1665145160792.png

We do this by:

  • working in collaboration with other rescues and organisations, such as the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC), World Horse Welfare, RSPCA, the police and local councils, to rescue animals in need
  • providing first class veterinary care and treatment, farriery, physiotherapy and dentistry to ensure our rescues are healthy
  • rehabilitating rescue horses/ponies through individual programmes using ethical and empathic training techniques to create positive experiences for our rescues, enabling them to trust humans and build their confidence
  • find the right match for our animal rescues and their forever home
  • attending events and running open days to raise awareness of the charity, educate the public about animal welfare and human well-being and promote positive animal welfare
  • providing well-being support through on-site interventions to children, young people, serving military personnel and veterans
  • providing well-being visits for the elderly, with our rescue animals, for those that are unable to leave their accommodation (e.g., care homes). We constantly monitor our animal’s welfare to ensure they are always happy and healthy during their visits

With overwhelming pressure on animal rescues (many of which are full) and mental health services (many of which are just don’t have capacity to meet demand), our charity is helping fill a vital gap to support both equines and people in need.

We were one of the first organisations to be accepted onto the Human Equine Interaction Register UK (HEIR). The register has been created to ensure all people involved in the field of human equine interactions operate credible, high quality, safe and ethical practice standards for their service provision. It is something we are incredibly proud to be part of.

As active members of the National Equine Welfare Council, working with others to improve animal welfare across the country, we are proud and privileged to change the lives of so many.


What we achieve

Since opening 6 years ago, we have:

  •  rescued over 190 horses and ponies and more than 50 other animals who now make up our well-being team including; cats, goats, pigs, sheep, ducks, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits and Oscar the donkey
  • rehomed over 150 horses and ponies
  • supported more than 700 children and young people through 6,500 hours of well-being interventions
  • visited multiple care homes to support the elderly community through our specialist animal assisted services


How we do what we do

Our rescue centre has an American barn with stabling, wash room, feed room, equipment room, tack room, tack sale area and larger pens. We also have 2 isolation yards, 40 acres of grazing land, an outdoor arena, round pen, track system, farmyard area, a ‘hub’ for our youth well-being sessions and an incredible horsebox for rescues.


We have a team of 10 staff members, 10 volunteers and 5 Trustees and have an average of 40 horses and ponies onsite at any one time and an array of other animals we have rescued along the way that are part of our well-being team.

We carry out educational visits to schools and attend community events to help educate about animal welfare and well-being. In addition, we run projects to support the well-being of children, young people, the elderly and veterans.

Our animal rescues work alongside our service users through a unique intervention that creates a circular relationship between the environment, animals and people we support. Our ‘Hugs community’ is inclusive, safe, nurturing and kind for both animals and people. This is a huge part of helping rehabilitate our rescues ready to find their new home and educating young people about animal welfare.


Our rehoming rates have already been greatly aided by the additional work the ponies have with our service users. The more situations our rescues can experience for training and confidence building, the more chance they have of finding their forever home.

Our well-being projects are in huge demand. Mental health referrals for children aged 11 and under have increased by nearly 50% with a young person now being referred to the NHS every 30 seconds. Mental health services are overwhelmed. A recent Hugs referral stated a 36 month wait for a child to be assessed by a mental health expert! Hugs is able to see these young people in their time of crisis instead of waiting months or years for support and it being too late. Many young people find traditional therapy ineffective or difficult, hence the need for Hugs alternative support. NHS CAMHS refers young people regularly to Hugs services to support their work due to the impact it has for a more positive future.

Charity Projects


Carol McGuffie
9th October 2023 at 6:59pm

Right behind you in all you are doing to save these beautiful creatures.

Carol McGuffie
9th October 2023 at 6:56pm

pledged £20 + an est. £5.00 in Gift Aid

Carol McGuffie has also backed 3 other projects

30th December 2022 at 7:30pm

pledged £10

steve fox
22nd November 2022 at 6:25pm

pledged £40 + an est. £10.00 in Gift Aid

22nd November 2022 at 6:23pm

pledged £5

22nd November 2022 at 6:20pm

pledged £20 + an est. £5.00 in Gift Aid

Margaret Minear
11th November 2022 at 12:28pm

This is a great asset for those who need some help in their lives, my granddaughter loved going to Hugs, she loved getting close to the animals, they bring comfort to a lot of children and adults.

11th November 2022 at 12:24pm

pledged £100 + an est. £25.00 in Gift Aid

Elizabeth Nolan
6th November 2022 at 12:06pm

pledged £100 + an est. £25.00 in Gift Aid

Elizabeth Nolan has also backed 1 other project

17th October 2022 at 9:04pm

pledged £30 + an est. £7.50 in Gift Aid

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