Our People

Juanita Wilson (Founder / Volunteer Manager)

Hi my name is Juanita, the abbreviation for Juanita is Juan and as people find that as difficult as the full name I get called Mrs Wilson a lot, I would rather I didn’t as I am not a very formal person! The question everyone asks me is “what made you start a sanctuary?” The truthful answer to that is that I never started out to do so, the whole thing just happened and evolved. Many years ago now it became known locally that I was approachable when people got into difficulties with horses and ponies and inevitably a very sick pony called Merlin arrived on my doorstep one day as his owners could no longer cope with him. I nursed that pony back to health and he is still alive today, retired but much loved. As a direct result of Merlin’s arrival I decided to get a committee together and become a charity and that is what I did. At first we were solely an equine charity but when my landlord moved me from the small yard where I lived at the time into the much larger premises of Mossburn things began, with the arrival of five pigs, three geese and three sheep, to take on the shape of how they are today. I have been horse mad since falling in love with the milkman’s pony at the age of about two. I have never been competitive and actually intended to make a career of being a cowgirl in America. I got married instead and had two children!

I believe that life is to a degree mapped out for us and I have no doubt at all that what I am doing now is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Caring for animals is rewarding if sometimes sad work. Trying to make a difference to the way other people think and feel about animals can be very frustrating but I have a saying and it is this; “if one goldfish in a bowl is moved into a tank because of what its owner has learnt by being at Mossburn then we have made a difference and that difference counts.” Recently the press made me choose which two animals I would most hate to lose in the event of a cull here; well it had to be Fran the goat and Joker the heifer but I love all our creatures and I’m grateful that I’m in a position where I am able to take them in and care for them. Another remark often made to me is “if I won the lottery I would start a sanctuary like yours” – I was on the dole when Merlin arrived and started the whole thing off, if you wait until you can afford it, it will never happen!

Yasmin Marshall (Secretary & Volunteer Yard Worker)

Having moved to Scotland in 1999, I first came to know of Mossburn during 2000. I subsequently took a Mossburn horse on loan (Amber – still with me!) in 2001 and gradually since that time have become more involved in the care of the animals and ‘back-room’ administration involved in running a small charity. As I am also in full-time employment, the time I am able to dedicate to Mossburn is somewhat limited, however I can be found at Mossburn on a Wednesday (my day off), happily mucking out and typing (not at the same time!). I have always loved animals, especially horses, and think the relaxed atmosphere at Mossburn shows benefits to both the animals in our care and the people who attend here, whether as volunteers/workers or clients.

Sue Pike (Horse Professional)

I have worked here at Mossburn for 5 years now. I have been involved with other animal rescue centres, and have seen how other places work, and I know that Mossburn is the best there is – without exception. The animals are well cared for, the young people and clients are treated at all times professionally and with absolute respect, and I believe in the fundamental ethos of Mossburn. So what do I bring to the mix? I’ve had 30 years of working with children and animals through Riding for the Disabled, having already studied to work with Special Needs individuals, so began my career of teaming up with various animals to assist me with my work. I am a qualified PE teacher, fully qualified in SEN Primary Education, I have second level person centred counselling skills, Makaton sign language skills, first level Equine Touch and advanced level EAGALA. So people and animals are very much at the centre of my life. I love working with animals and above all love seeing the animal work with the young people in our care. Animals adapt so well to the lives we humans bestow on them and in return they make us feel and teach us so much about ourselves. My love of animals brought me to Mossburn 5 years ago and I’m still here, enjoying my chosen career.
Can I change the world? I’ll start with changing my own small corner . . . and see where it leads!