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Charity reports huge surge in demand from rehomers during pandemic

A major equine charity has rehomed a record number of horses this year despite challenges owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary had an increase of 75% in the number of horses finding new homes compared to last year, rehoming more horses since May than in the whole of 2019.

New rehoming centres as well as using technology to find new ways to match rescued equines with potential rehomers, such as virtual home checks, were in part behind the increase.

“Lockdown came just as we were about to enter our busiest season for rehoming enquiries and our new rehoming centres were getting started on training their first intake of ponies, so it was a really disappointing to have to press pause on our scheme at that time,” said Rachel Angell, Redwings’ head of Norfolk equine operations who heads the charity’s rehoming scheme.

“While unfortunately there are still some restrictions around rehoming our ridden horses, thanks to the adaptions we made to our application process, we have been able to safely rehome our unbacked project ponies and non-ridden companions since lockdown. Even with the increased demand, we were careful to ensure our priority remained finding responsible guardians who could offer long-term homes and it’s been a joy to see such a record number of our horses successfully finding new families this year.

“By rehoming a rescued horse from a registered charity, they have helped to create space at the sanctuary so we can help more horses in desperate need in the future.”

Redwings Mocha was one of the first ponies to complete his training at the newly opened Oxhill centre and to then be rehomed via the virtual process.

Mocha was one of 23 horses rescued in 2011 from a site in Northern Ireland, who were found living in appalling conditions.

Once at Redwings they were named after breakfast items and the group became

known as ‘The Breakfast Club’.

He joined his rehomer, Debbie, as an unbroken project. She arranged for him to be professionally started and the pair now enjoy hacking together.

“I am so proud of him. He has learnt so much in such a short space of time. His trainer

said he was by far the best horse she had ever backed which I’m sure is down to the groundwork done at Redwings,” she added. “In our hacks around the village he is never fazed by anything, I am amazed by him and he’s a little superstar!”

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Redwings’ equines rehomed ahead of the pandemic have also thrived this year.

Redwings Cookie, the sole survivor of a group of three mares rescued from a site in Norfolk in 2016, made a full recovery and marked her one-year anniversary in her new home in November.

Her rehomer, Angela, said she has “loved every moment of being Cookie’s guardian.

“She’s been such a joy to work with, from building her trust and confidence, to backing her

and then getting her out and about. Every step of the way has been packed full of rewards,” she added.

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