Crime-hit Harborough district horse centre has shut

Judith Edwards of the Spirit at Play equine centre in Illston on the Hill.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Judith Edwards of the Spirit at Play equine centre in Illston on the Hill.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

A ‘healing horses’ centre near a Harborough district village has been forced to shut down after suffering from theft and vandalism.

The closure decision was made by volunteer centre manager Judith Edwards after the Illston on the Hill centre’s horse trailer was stolen and fences knocked down, allowing the centre’s eight horses to escape.

Seven of the horses had to be rounded up on the nearby main road, the B6047 between Market Harborough and Melton.

The incident happened on Sunday, January 10. Ms Edwards has since taken the decision to close down the centre.

“My partner and I have been ill with worry because of what happened” she said.

“But in the end we decided the organisation would have to disband because we can’t guarantee the safety of our horses on that site.”

She added that a small ginger cat that lived at the site had also gone missing. She said the horses were in a local horse sanctuary for the time being.

She now hoped that her Spirit At Play organisation, which offers horse skills to people with problems and disabilities, could either find a more secure site, or get help to make the Illston site more secure.

The equine-assisted learning centre has been located on a field just outside Illston since April last year.

It caused some controversy locally, when villagers objected to the centre’s plans for temporary buildings at the site. But the plans were unanimously approved by Harborough District Council’s Planning Committee.

Cllr Sindy Modha commented: “This seems to me to be a very laudable and lovely venture to support.”

Ms Edwards wants anyone who can help with a new site, or security on the present site, to ring her on 07904 053899.