HorseWorld boss Mark Owen (left) perfects his fiddling-whilst-Rome-burns dadrock pout

HorseWorld boss Mark Owen (left) perfects his fiddling-whilst-Rome-burns dadrock pout

Web ExclusiveArk at ee, it’s our old friend MARK ‘NOT THAT ONE’ OWEN, the moribund boss of troubled equine charity HorseWorld!

Of course, when we say “troubled equine charity HorseWorld” it should be pretty clear by now just where the problem lies

Still, having terrorised his staff by doling out redundancy notices, Bristol’s COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR continues to work hard to undermine the hard-earned reputation of the organisation which pays for both his shiny new Audi and his not-inconsiderable salary. This week’s wheeze: trying to ignore his legal obligations under employment law.

Yes, thanks to his financial shenanigans, more than half of HorseWorld’s employees are now unionised, and we understand some heavy-hitting regional union reps have been in touch with both the charity’s trustees and Owen himself to arrange meetings this week.

As one source told The BRISTOLIAN:

Owen is shitting himself that the unions are now muscling in…

And in the words on another:

As usual Owen is refusing to answer them, [claiming] HorseWorld ‘does not recognise a union’…

Well, that’s okay then..?

Meanwhile our fearless leader has decided to put on a brave face with all this turmoil around him and go on tour with his dadrock band!

Sadly you’ve missed the first date – last Saturday at the Anchor – but you can still catch them this Friday at Blue Lagoon on the Gloucester Road, Saturday 1 March at Oldland Common’s Dolphin, at the Crown in Staple Hill on Saturday 22 March, and then back at the Blue Lagoon the following Saturday.

As they say:

Expect an eclectic mix of “anthems” from Oasis, Kings of Leon, The Killers, The Jam, The Foo Fighters, The Stereophonics, Wheatus, The Verve, Primal Scream – to mention just a few!

So if you’re a horse lover, one of the workers whose jobs are at threat thanks to Pinocchiowen’s business ‘skills’, or you just like covers bands, get on down…


  1. Worried

    I’d like to say I’m shocked but if their Human Resources Management is anything like their Finance Management then I’m hardly surprised!!! – Shocking!!

  2. Ruthless

    Wow, looks like the sinking ship has sprung some more leaks, although perhaps the addition of Union support has now provided life jackets!?Is this what you don’t like Mr Owen, a life raft with a loud voice? I for one would like to shake the hands of the ‘sources’ and perhaps raise a glass to the future of ‘The Good Ship HorseWorld’ with a new Captain at the helm, watching Mr Owen playing to make ends meet…….Rock on Sir – we can only hope!!!

  3. Lisa

    I think it is true that Employers do not have to recognise a Trade Union. However, if the Employer has over 21 Employees (which I believe HorseWorld do) then the Union can apply to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) ( who may be able to force the Employer into recognising a Trade Union. I’m no expert, and as usual, I am sure there will be something stopping this from happening but might be worth Union Members looking into just in case.

  4. Feeling Helpless

    We have been told so many lies nothing adds up: the figures, the need to close the Visitor Centre, planning, the future business strategy nothing ! Fundraising is the future…..without the Visitor Centre don’t see how that one will work, plus who will support a Charity with a poor financial record and a Management Team with no credibility ? New Visitor Centre without planning permission……appeal or no appeal times running out, seems as if tens of thousands of donated funds could have been totally wasted, who actually wants a new centre have we ever been asked ? During the past five years there has been a distinct lack of ‘open’ leadership ‘my way or the highway’ with strategies changing by the day ! What is clear though is Mark Owen has always said ‘NO Plan B’ …… bad management, I think so, listen to the passionate people around you, us who actually care !

  5. Angry

    Plan B yes got one,grab Mr rock and roll by the seat of his pants and throw him out the door then let staff , trustees and anyone who is interested enough to get involved ,get together to try and salvage what is left while there is still time . There must be plenty of horse lovers out there that with a little persuasion would come on board to help . Please please please someone help HorseWorld NOW!

  6. Frustrated

    All this needs to stop – get rid of the washed up overpaid “directors” and bring in people who love and care about the charity and truly know their stuff! A finance director who felt the need to tweet inappropriate comments at an awards ceremony and an MD who would obviously rather be elsewhere – they need to pack their bags and get out of there. The hardworking staff and helpless horses deserve better! I just dread to think what is going to be left of a truly beautiful legacy left by some inspirational women – HW managers need to realise it’s not about lining their own pockets.

  7. RRW

    One of the tragedies in this is of course that all the amazing work Horseworld staff do with animals is being washed away. They do great stuff with people too, as this unheralded story shows
    But they are run by people who couldn’t tell one end of a horse from another; and care nothing about people either as their plan to sack 28 low paid staff shows.
    If staff are now speaking up that can only be a good thing, if overdue. I have a feeling Owen will live to regret for a long, long time the stance he is taking with unions. Time will tell but this, along with his ski-ing holiday, may be two strategic errors too far.

  8. rc

    I don’t think the charity needs to close.what it needs is all current directors need to be suspended with immediate effect the accounts need be scrutinised by the charities commision and the police, because this is our money they have used for their own gains. The visitor centre is making a profit and the loss of local jobs within our community would be a travisty. I have been in bristol for over 40 years and remember the horses being under the bridge as you enter the village coming from town. What are the trustees doing about this farce, are they just to blame? Mark Owen leave while you still have some dignity in tact and hand the reigns over to someone who has the horses and staff at heart, and not the own agenda.

  9. Enigma

    “If I told you I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at, I’d be lying, because I have no idea where I am right now.”
    ― Jarod Kintz,
    Sound familiar?

  10. Boudicca

    The Staff, Volunteers and Supporters would surely do a better job than the existing SMT?! Let’s face it, the Director of Human Resources started off life as a receptionist/PA, and the Finance Director an assistant accountant, both promoted to Managers and onwards to Directors. Good on them, but perhaps one of Owens master plans? Maybe with more Directors the ‘Chief’ needed a generous pay rise (listed as more than £60,000 2010 – between £70,000 & £80,000 2011 info via Charity Commission). The people who love HorseWorld, the animals and it’s history are the Staff, the Volunteers and the Supporters, we are what make HorseWorld unique, ‘a special place’, not the over paid SMT who really haven’t got a clue and don’t honestly give a damn! We do all care, listen, understand, know what’s right and firmly believe that together we can and will have a future!

  11. Enigma

    You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
    Abraham Lincoln

    Net closing in on you Mr Owen?

  12. Enigma

    “This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
    Winston Churchill.
    Harrow School, 29 October 1941.

    Churchill brought down the Third Reich with theses words.
    Call to Arms …………

  13. HorseWispas

    Bully boy tactics seem to once again have been applied as the @HorseWispas Twitter account has again been suspended – probably due to complaint. Anyone who thinks these issues are going to go away by ‘censoring’ the truth is mistaken. It makes the resolve for right to triumph even stronger. If you’re following @HorseWispas, thanks for your patience, we hope to be up and running again soon. If not, be assured the truth will out in other ways.

  14. HorseWispas

    … all that’s been posted on our @HorseWispas Twitter is info that’s already out there in the public domain. We feel we provide a useful service by bringing some of it together for greater public awareness. Maybe Horseworld management and trustees disagree. The messages of support we’ve been getting through Twitter DMs suggest many others appreciate our efforts.

  15. Angry

    Mr Owen,if you truly and honestly care for this wonderful and worthwhile charity that you have the privilege of being part of ,why are you not doing the honourable thing and go while there is still time .when I have been to HorseWorld it would appear that shop, cafe and yard staff are more than capable of running things.It would seem that the head office needs a jolly good shake up and a more qualified team lead the way forward .So Mr Owen what is your answer ,what are you going to do ?

  16. Ruthless

    I for one miss your ‘wispas’ @HorseWispas’. Think you hit a nerve with stomping boy Owen……the truth hurts and Owens hurting! Relevant questions are being raised by both you and our loyal ‘Smitter’, hope it won’t be too long and you’ll be tweeting from the rooftops again.

  17. HorseWispas

    Thanks ‘Ruthless’. Funnily enough the info has been streaming in – more since the suspended account thing than before. So if this suspension was an attempt by Horseworld managers to gag truths, it’s gonna end up having the opposite effect, as the info will be dripped out there in one way or another. Investigation of the private consultants employed by horseworld, for example, is proving very interesting indeed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *