The Blue Cross is introducing a new free healthcare package to help encourage horse owners to re-home the charity’s companion horses and ponies.

The new scheme will see the welfare charity pick up the cost of the companion’s routine inoculations and an annual veterinary health check for the during of its stay with its carer. In addition Fort Dodge Animal Health is providing a year’s supply of Equest and Equitape wormers free of charge for each companion.

The charity hopes that the new scheme will help alleviate some of the financial concerns associated with taking on a companion, which can prove more difficult to re-home than horses which can be ridden.

Amanda Winstone, manager of The Blue Cross equine welfare centre in Burford, Oxfordshire explains: “Sadly, companion horses are often overlooked in favour of rideable horses. Companions can play a useful role ‘nannying’ youngsters and teaching them important herd behaviour or by providing company for horses living on their own. They can also give enormous pleasure to people who are unable to ride but still want to be involved with horses.”

It is The Blue Cross’s policy to rehome all horses and ponies within its care once they are physically and mentally ready. The current need to re-home some of its companion horses is pressing as the charity’ limited resources mean it can only take in new cases once rehabilitated horses have been re-homed.

Helen Barnes of Fort Dodge Animal Health says: “We are delighted to be supporting The Blue Cross welfare activities with the re-homing of rescued horses and ponies. We hope that by providing year-long packs of wormers for each of the re-homed horses and ponies, owners will have complete peace of mind that their new horse will be covered against worms for a whole year.”

For more details about providing an experienced, long term home to a Blue Cross horse, contact Rebecca Wadham (tel: 01993 822454, email rebecca.wadham@bluecross.org.uk) or visit: www.bluecross.org.uk