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Signs of hope for equine welfare charities

Major equine welfare charities have shared signs of hope as supporters step in to foster horses, and rehoming looks possible in the near future.

A spokesman for Blue Cross said the charity has been “overwhelmed” by the equestrian sector’s support in providing temporary homes for equines during lockdown.

World Horse Welfare, whose rescue and rehoming centres are at “record levels”, also stated yesterday (28 April) that it will be “able to start rehoming again very soon”.

Equine welfare charity rehoming centres have been closed to the public as a result of the pandemic. While applications are still welcome, it means progress in rehoming horses is restricted.

“While we will have to make changes — such as our field officers carrying out virtual home checks by video call for any new rehomers — being able to start rehoming again means that those horses and ponies who already have homes to go to will be able to leave our farms,” stated a World Horse Welfare spokesman.

“Visiting a rehoming centre is not considered an essential journey for members of the public but we will make arrangements with the rehomer to get the horse to his or her new home.”

Staffing numbers at the Blue Cross’s two rehoming centres have been greatly reduced, and several of the charity’s regular support yards have stepped in to take horses temporarily into their own care.

Rehomers of other Blue Cross horses have also stepped in to help, with 33 homes offering to take in horses on a short-term basis.

The Blue Cross has 82 horses remaining at its centres, with 29 now with fosterers or supporters.
Among these is Jennifer Handy, in Leicestershire, who immediately agreed to take in eight horses even though they had suspected ringworm.

“I have dealt with cases of ringworm before, so it didn’t deter me from taking this lovely group of ponies on,” she said.

“I am lucky to have lots of fields and barns which means I have been able to keep them separate from my other horses. They have been treated with a body wash and spot treatment and all have now recovered. My family and I have a genuine love of horses and wanted to help the Blue Cross at this difficult time.”

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The Blue Cross is continuing with its initial matchmaking process, where applications and prospective borrowers are assessed over video calls.

Some straightforward horses with low training needs are being rehomed under strict social distancing guidelines, while others are being matched to new homes to help the charity act faster when things get back to normal.

Horse welfare manager Ruth Court said the charity will “never cease to be amazed” at the generosity and kindness of the borrowers as well as the “tireless innovation and adaptability of our teams”.

“I am so proud of our ‘can do’ approach,” she said. “We feel confident that we have the necessary plans in place and can cope with any horses that have to return from loan.

“We are in a strong position to keep pushing ahead with our rehoming process to give every horse the best possible chance of a new life.”

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