|From dressage and showing success to supporting people with learning difficulties and disabilities, rehomed rescued horses and ponies from Redwings Horse Sanctuary have flourished in their new Guardian homes this year.
And the charity is looking forward to helping even more of its horses enjoy happy and fulfilling lives beyond its paddock fences as it prepares to open two brand-new rehoming centres at its Caldecott and Oxhill visitor centres, in Norfolk and Warwickshire respectively, in 2019.
Lynn Cutress, Redwings’ Chief Executive, said: “It’s wonderful to look back on another successful year of rehoming. Hearing the heart-warming tales of new friendships made and the fantastic things our rescued horses have achieved with their new families demonstrates how rewarding it can be to become a Redwings Guardian.
“We’re also equally excited to look forward as we prepare to open our new rehoming centres. These new facilities will enable our teams to train even more rescued horses to find Guardian homes, providing the space to bring more horses, ponies, donkeys and mules in desperate need into the safety of the Sanctuary.”
This year saw unbacked project horses being promoted through Redwings’ rehoming scheme for the first time. They provide experienced Guardians with the opportunity to train the horses to be ridden themselves – and Redwings Sherlock has shown just what they can achieve.
Sherlock was one of 56 ponies rescued by Redwings in 2013 from dreadful conditions at a site in Caerphilly, Wales. The ponies were named after detectives and villains, hence his famous super-sleuth moniker.
After years of specialist veterinary care and handling training, Sherlock found a new home with Guardian Krisstey Perryman, from Bungay in Suffolk. Within a year of being rehomed, the six-year-old Welsh gelding has gone from never being near a saddle, to completing dressage tests and even enjoying success in the show ring.
Krisstey said: “As soon as he settled on our yard, his little character started to shine through and he has proved himself to be a very inquisitive and intelligent little pony. We have been to shows and dressage competitions and received some really lovely comments from the judges.
“By rehoming him as an unbacked project, I got the opportunity to make a real connection with him in training and I can’t believe how easy he has made it for me. He is just such a considerate little pony and only ever wants to please, he loves everyone: people, babies, dogs, you name it!”
Meanwhile, 14-year-old Shetland pony Phoebe is enjoying a new life at Depden Care Farm, near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, a charity which provides experience in animal care and agriculture to people with learning disabilities, acquired brain injuries or mental health problems.
Phoebe receives plenty of attention from the farm’s helpers who brush her, clean her hooves and take her for walks, while she also provides important companionship to fellow resident pony Athena.
Tim Freathy, Director of Depden Care Farm, said: “Life on the farm would not feel right now without Phoebe. She has been wonderful for us and the people we support. Whilst we were looking for a companion for Athena, Redwings also took our needs seriously, understanding that animals on our farm must be friendly and good with people, and Phoebe has fit the bill perfectly!”
For more information and to apply to become a Redwings Guardian, visit www.redwings.org.uk/rehoming