Singapore — A fund-raising event in an Orchard Road mall next month will feature miniature horses and some people are concerned that the animals will be stressed out there.
The organisers of the event say they hear this concern but give the assurance that the participants are therapy horses and “enjoy being around people”.
Some people online voiced their concern after fashion firm In Good Company announced an event on Dec 6, 13 and 20, at which those with fund-raising tickets could meet miniature horses from EQUAL, a horse-based therapy charity, at the In Good Company’s store at ION Orchard.
However, both companies have given the assurance that the animals will not be stressed by the event.
In Good Company sold tickets to the event for S$50 each, which the company would match, pledging a total of S$100, with 100 per cent of donation proceeds going towards EQUAL.
All the sessions for the event have been fully booked, In Good Company announced on its website. “Please join our waitlist should a spot become available later on.”
However, the idea of the horses inside a boutique within a mall did not sit right with some people. According to asiaone.com, they felt the event would be stressful for the animals, being in an enclosed space surrounded by people.
“No very nice idea to stress these cuties to public (sic) for a fund raising…,” one said.
Responding to these concerns, both In Good Company and Equal have given the assurance that the event will be safe, and even enjoyable for the horses.
Mr Ng Tze Yong, the CEO of EQUAL, explained in a Facebook post that the horses will be fine.
The horses chosen for the event are specially-selected therapy animals that are evaluated to make sure they have the right temperament for therapy.
“They must enjoy being around people (and not all animals do),” he said.
“Each pair will spend 30 min at the meet-and-greet, before resting for the next 30 min at a quiet corner away from humans. 30 min is less than the 1 hour that our horses typically spend in sessions with beneficiaries,” he added.
Mr Ng said the horses will be properly oriented as well as handled by professional staff.
“The starting point is this: Going to a mall is not a big change from what our therapy horses are used to doing. Our therapy horses go out a lot. They go to a nursing home, a school, a hospital, HDB estate (Yishun, that was us). They work with young kids with severe autism and elderly with anger management issues. It sounds intense, but the thing is, these kids and elderly mellow when they are around the horses.”
In Good Company echoed many of Mr Ng’s statements. It said the well-being of the horses comes first, when it comes to transporting and preparing the animals.
In fact, the horses will not be surrounded by crowds of people. “While the horses are very comfortable around people, we’re restricting the number of people allowed near the horses at any given time. It’s a closed-door 2hr event where entry is strictly by pre-event bookings and limited within each hour,” it said.
As reassurance, the firm added that anyone visiting EQUAL’s stables in 100 Jalan Mashhor would see that it “loves and cares for these horses”. /TISG