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Ambulance workers giddy (up) over Huey the horse

WELSH Ambulance Service workers in north Wales have had a hair-raising visit from a horse.

Colleagues at the Trust’s headquarters in St Asaph, Denbighshire, were visited by an ex-racehorse called Huey as part of a new equine therapy initiative to improve the wellbeing of staff and volunteers.

Those who witnessed the mane event could feed and pet the 15-year-old Thoroughbred, as well as pose for photographs.

Equine therapy is said to relieve anxiety and stress, help people to navigate challenging emotional experiences and build trust.

Catherine Wynn Lloyd, Organisational Development Project Support Officer, who organised the visit, said: “We’ve been having therapy dog visits for many months now, but Huey’s visit has taken our animal therapy work to the next level.

“Animal therapy might sound unconventional on the face of it, but it’s been hugely popular among staff and volunteers, and anything which improves their health and wellbeing will ultimately mean a better service for patients.”

Huey’s owner is Giles George, an Emergency Medical Technician in Knighton, Powys, who also volunteers as a Special Inspector for Dyfed Powys Police.

When volunteering, Giles – a former prison officer originally from Bewdley, Worcestershire – patrols the Powys community on horseback in a bid to tackle rural crime.

He said: “The visit was fantastic, and colleagues came out in their droves to see Huey.

“One lady even spent time with Huey in his trailer, and said she’d always wanted to be up close with a horse but had never been able to pluck up the courage.

“I think people have an affinity with horses because they’re highly sensitive and they can sense when you’re feeling down an anxious.

“They’re wonderful creatures, and I’m so glad it brought a smile to people’s faces.”

Huey’s visit was part of a broader programme of work to improve the health and wellbeing of staff and volunteers, and is now expected to be a mane-stay of the Trust’s support offer.

Dr Catherine Goodwin, Assistant Director Inclusion, Culture and Wellbeing, said: “The nature of ambulance work means that the wellbeing of our staff is pushed to the limit, physically and emotionally.

“Staff and volunteers in every corner of Wales and in every part of the service work tremendously hard in tough circumstances, and we are extremely proud of them.

“We do our utmost to support their wellbeing, which recently has meant significant expansion of our occupational health and wellbeing service, the introduction of drop-in wellbeing sessions and the creation of multiple support groups.

“Colleagues also have 24/7 access to a wide range of mental health support services, including and a mental health and wellbeing app.”

Following the success of Huey’s visit, the Trust now exploring other forms of animal therapy which neigh or neigh not include llamas and goats.

Editor’s Notes
For more information please call Lois Hough, Head of Communications at the Welsh Ambulance Service on 07866 887559, or email