January 25, 2017

Are you prepared for a pony?

Rehoming a horse or pony from a sanctuary like Redwings Horse Sanctuary is a rewarding experience for the new owner, the pony, the charity and of course other equines out there in need of rescue.

When rehoming from charities like Redwings you can be assured to know the full background of the horse as they will give an honest account of their health and behaviour. You also receive ongoing support as their rehoming team remains on-hand to help with any advice that the new owner may need.

But even with this added support, rehoming a horse is a decision that needs careful thought. Redwings, therefore offer the following advice to help you decide if you are prepared for a pony:

Cost – The initial cost of a rehoming can be quite low. However, the ongoing costs of owning a horse are high with the average horse costing £3,500 a year. This may seem like a lot, but a regular regime of care including foot trims, worming, vaccinations, dental and veterinary treatment soon adds up – and that’s without any unexpected emergency vet costs! Being aware of these costs and making sure you will be able to continue caring for your horse if your circumstances change is extremely important.

Time – Owning a horse is very time-consuming. Horses need to be checked every day, both morning and night, 365 days a year – even when it’s pouring with rain and freezing cold! They also need to be regularly groomed and have their hooves picked out to make sure they have nothing stuck in their feet or caught up in their hair. The field and stable also need to be cleared of muck regularly to reduce the risk of worms. You should also consider who will look after your horse if you go away on holiday or are taken ill.

Space – A horse needs a minimum of one acre of land, which needs to be well managed ensuring sufficient year-round grazing. Providing shelter for a horse is also essential so there must be space for this and it will need to be maintained throughout the seasons. This can be natural shelter, but will still need to be managed.

Knowledge – Horses are very complex animals and knowledge of horse behaviour and common health problems is very important. Often horses give signals that they are in pain or unhappy and being able to notice these signs is key to making sure your horse is happy. Horses also don’t like being without a friend and at Redwings, all our horses are kept with a companion. When rehoming from Redwings, having a companion is one of the criteria. Many owners share a yard or rent land that other horses also use for grazing, which is a great solution.

So are you ready to rehome?

Bearing all this in mind, you may feel that you’re not quite ready for a pony. Horse ownership is a long-term commitment and a huge responsibility. You need to have the time, space, money and knowledge to look after one. To give you a taster of what owning a horse is like, you could help out a friend with a horse or share ownership with someone more experienced first.

On the other hand, looking after a horse can be a fantastic experience. Building a relationship with your horse and watching them thrive can be incredibly fulfilling. Even more so when rehoming from a charity as you are giving that horse a second chance to enjoy life in a loving home.

More about Redwings: Redwings Horse Sanctuary was established in 1984 and has grown to be the largest horse sanctuary in the UK. Redwings are dedicated to saving horses, ponies, donkeys and mules whose future would otherwise be bleak. The charity now cares for over 1,500 rescued horses and donkeys at ten centres around the UK every day and has a further 500 living out in Guardian homes.

Redwings currently rehomes from East Anglia, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire and you can see who we have ready for rehoming on our website – www.redwings.org.uk/rehoming. You can also follow our Facebook page where we regularly share newly added ponies – https://www.facebook.com/RedwingsHorseSanctuary/.

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