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Redwings is urging horse owners to look towards registered welfare charities when searching for a companion horse or pony for their equine.
Companions play an integral role in the wellbeing of horses in work; they can provide them with invaluable friendship when they are not being schooled or in competition and even act as calming travel buddies. Companions can also provide excellent company for those retired from work, as well as young and other non-ridden horses, or can simply make great family pets in their own right.
We've been rehoming rescued horses and ponies through our Guardianship Scheme for 15 years, either to be ridden, as unbacked projects or non-ridden companions. However, while rehoming applications are quick to come in for those horses that can be ridden, those looking to find new families as companions can spend weeks, even months, waiting for someone to take them home.
In recent years, we've welcomed equines with increasingly complex health and behavioural needs, resulting in higher numbers of our rescued horses not being deemed suitable for ridden training.
Currently, we have about 30 horses and ponies of all sizes going through the last stages of their handling training to become companions, with many looking for new homes now.
Rachel Angell, Rehoming and Operations Manager, said: “Because of the specialist care we can provide, Redwings is often the last place horses in the most desperate need can turn - without us, they simply wouldn’t have anywhere to go. This means that a significant proportion of the horses we welcome into the Sanctuary will never be suitable for rehoming and not all those who are successfully rehabilitated back to good health will suit a life under saddle.
“We have a wonderful collection of horses and ponies who would thrive outside the Sanctuary and make fantastic additions to any family, but who sometimes get overlooked because they cannot be ridden.
“When you rehome from a registered charity like Redwings, you’re not only giving a second start in life to a rescued horse but you’re also providing space at the Sanctuary for another horse in need to be brought to safety. But with a companion, you’re also supporting a third horse – your existing four-legged friend!”
Rehoming a rescued horse or pony from Redwings is free of charge, but £50 is requested towards the cost of their passport and additional donations are welcome.
Companions undertake the same level of handling training as those who go on to be backed, and prospective Guardians have the chance to spend time with them and receive a full account of the horse’s rescue and subsequent care at the Sanctuary before committing to taking them home.
We retain ownership of all our rehomed horses, so if the circumstances of the Guardian were to change, the horse could return to the Sanctuary.
To find out more about the Guardianship Scheme and the ponies ready to be rehomed, just click here.