Redwings Horse Sanctuary has achieved another record-breaking year for its rehoming scheme, with more rescued horses and ponies than ever finding new loving homes outside the Sanctuary.
This year, the teams at Redwings have so far rehomed 128 ponies to new Guardians, up over 50% on 2020’s total of 84.
As the charity continues its frontline welfare work throughout the pandemic, it has offered a safe home to 132 rescued horses and donkeys in need of their care and veterinary expertise this year, meaning that for the first time the charity is on course to rehome one horse for every horse rescued in 2021.
Rachel Angell, Redwings’ Head of Norfolk Equine Operations, who heads up the rehoming scheme, said: “As the Sanctuary has been operating at capacity for many years, this milestone is an important one, and emphasizes that one of the most important ways we can continue to help more horses in need is to try and make space through rehoming.
“2021’s record figure is a testament to the hard work of our teams throughout the Sanctuary who work tirelessly to rehabilitate our rescued horses, so they can go on to enjoy lives in Guardian homes.
“Despite the challenges we continue to face with rehoming in the pandemic, our team are doing a fantastic job of finding long-term, loving homes for our rescued horses. We hope that even more people will consider rehoming from a registered charity next year.”
Many of the horses on Redwings’ Guardianship Scheme find homes as companion ponies, as they are best suited to a life not being ridden. However, these horses and ponies play a valuable supporting role for other horses, and humans too!
Two such ponies are Redwings Maverick and Galena who were rehomed to Wick Court, a farm run by the charity Farms for City Children in Gloucestershire – co-founded by Michael Morpurgo, the famed author of War Horse. Rehomed in October, the pair are now settling into their new home, but in due time will be helping with grooming and interactive sessions for children.
Native pony Galena was one of 35 ponies rescued by Redwings from a site in Norfolk in 2009. Many were emaciated, and were being kept in unsuitable conditions, on waterlogged land, with no grazing and surrounded by broken machinery and other hazards.
Meanwhile, Welsh cross Maverick was born at Redwings in 2008 after his mum and five other horses were rescued from a site in London. They had been turned-out on pasture without the landowner’s consent and were starting to suffer from lameness and poor body condition due to a lack of care.
Stevie Edge-McKee, Farm School Manager, said: “At Wick Court we offer children from urban areas the chance to experience farm life. Our ponies are especially important as their sessions help to promote wellbeing and a connection with animals, and the children often bond especially with the horses.”
Redwings is also remembering a very special pony who throughout his lifetime championed the cause of rehoming rescued horses.
Redwings Noel was rehomed to his Guardian Hayley Ward 20 years ago, and the partnership enjoyed incredible showing and showjumping success together before he sadly passed away in November, aged 25 years old.
Noel, a Welsh cross Arab, was originally rescued in 1998 by Ada Cole Memorial Stables (as it was known before merging with Redwings in 2005) alongside his companion Mistletoe. The pair had been left to fend for themselves while their owner was in prison. They were both underweight, infested with lice and Noel had a significant worm burden.
Throughout their time together, Noel and Hayley won countless rosettes and trophies and were Supreme Champions of the Kimpton Horse Show in Hertfordshire a record-breaking three times!
Hayley said: “When Noel arrived, we just clicked, and he had been a superstar ever since. He was an absolute cheeky monkey but was just cracking and won so much for me! Our successes always meant so much to us but were always even more of an achievement because of Noel’s background. Everyone knew he was a Redwings pony, and he would always be included in publicity – flying the flag for rescued horses – which always made it extra special.”
Rehoming a rescued horse or pony from Redwings is free of charge, but £50 is requested towards the cost of their passport and additional donations are welcome.
Redwings rehomes horses on long-term loan but retains ownership so if the circumstances of the Guardian were to change, the horse could return to the Sanctuary.
To find out more about Redwings’ Guardianship Scheme and the ponies ready to be rehomed, visit www.redwings.org.uk/rehoming.