While the charity was unable to rehome horses during the first lockdown, and had to make adaptations to the application and rehoming processes, it rehomed 356 horses during 2020. The previous record was 350 in 2015.
Deputy chief executive Tony Tyler said it was a “truly amazing achievement”, and down to the fantastic supporters who had offered horses and ponies homes.
“It is also testament to our incredible teams at each of the farms, who have continued to care for and prepare the horses for rehoming throughout the restrictions. They have had to adapt their way of working and, in turn, we have had to make changes to the way people apply and how we process those applications. It’s definitely been the year of virtual home visits,” he said.
“World Horse Welfare is the UK’s largest equine rescue and rehoming charity, and rehoming is the ultimate aim for every horse coming into the charity’s care. Each horse that is rehomed frees up a vital space at one of the rescue centres but, sadly, there are always more horses needing help.”
A report, Britain’s Horse Problem, published in December by a number of equine welfare charities including World Horse Welfare, revealed how the pandemic affected charities, and how it is also expected to create “significantly more” welfare problems at a time when charities are least able to cope with them.
“World Horse Welfare’s newly launched rehoming website sets out the rehoming process clearly and makes applications straightforward, and an engaging animation explains the rehoming and application process,” said a charity spokesman.
“Rehomers receive an honest assessment of their chosen horse and their capabilities, as well as ongoing support and the reassurance that if their circumstances change, the rehomed horse can be returned.”
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“Horses put their heart and soul into what they do for us and expect nothing in return so I thought
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The spokesman added that rehoming a horse is an “immensely rewarding” experience.
“Most of the rehomed horses have had difficult lives before coming into the charity and rehoming offers them a vital second chance,” he said.
“Covid restrictions mean that currently World Horse Welfare is only able to take applications for companion, youngster and project horses, as ridden assessments cannot be undertaken.”
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