The Blue Cross is urging owners to give a second chance in life to a companion horse.

Larger companion horses, says the charity, are often overlooked in favour of ponies. Although unsuitable for riding, companion horses are intended to bring friendship and stability to riding horses.

Gemma Taylor, senior riding groom at The Blue Cross, says: “Horses are herd animals that rely upon each other for mutual grooming, safety and company.

“Companions can have a positive influence on the behaviour of other horses, particularly youngsters and highly strung or anxious types, by providing calmness and stability.”

Gemma says that people prefer small ponies as companions as they think that they will be easier to look after. However, she argues that a larger ridden horses will be better off with a similarly sized animal that can safely share the same grazing and feeding regime.

The Blue Cross rehabilitates and rehomes over a hundred such horses and ponies every year at its equine centres in Burford in Oxfordshire and Rolleston-on-Dove in Staffordshire.

Blue Cross Pixie, a 16.1hh bay TB mare (above left), and Blue Cross Maffy, a 15.3hh grey gelding (above right), are both typical of a larger horses that are commonly overlooked by people seeking companion horses.

Pixie is described as a sweet mare, who is very affectionate and loves attention. She is easy to handle, enjoys being in a routine, and can live in or out with mares or in a mixed herd.

Maffy is an attractive chap, who is very easy and sociable, good to handle and adores being pampered. He will happily live out with mares or geldings all year or can be part stabled.

Anyone providing homes for companions through the charity’s monitored loan scheme will be provided with free annual vaccinations, a routine health and teeth check, and wormers for the first year.

See or phone 01993 822454 for more information.