Apr 10

imageThe team at Horses4Homes is small but very niche and hardworking indeed.  A great deal of work is done behind the scenes helping owners who are in urgent need of assistance.  On occasion the expertise that we can offer and solutions we facilitate with out contacts throughout the charity sector go unnoticed by the wider community so today I thought I would share a recent case with you all.

Less than a week ago I received a call from a lovely lady called Emma who had been referred to us by Redwings Horse Sanctuary.  Emma was in need of urgent help.  A friend of hers called Rodney, was in hospital facing losing his foot due to illness. Rodney is the owner of 4 Gelderlanders, Beryl, Barney, Flash and Ferdie, kept on two separate private yards with no livery services in Warwickshire.  It was evident Rodney would be in hospital for some time and even upon his return home would not be in a fit state to care for his horses.  Emma explained that Rodney had been struggling to care for his horses for sometime due to a number of changes in his personal circumstances.  Emma knew little about the condition of the horses and confessed to be very unhorsey herself. She knew they needed hay and water but that was all and had arranged with a local farmer to drop off hay and monitored their water.

The horses were at risk, in urgent need of a welfare assessment and all 4 potentially would need to find new homes very soon indeed. Not an easy job to undertake even for a charity like Horses4Homes when my only point of contact with the horses is a lady with very little, if any, equine knowledge at all.  Emma, Rodney’s neighbour, was very worried about the horses and what to do with them as well as wanting to provide her close friend with assurance that despite him being in hospital she would find a solution which he would be happy with.  Rodney ideally wanted a retirement home for them all but alas did not have the funds to pay for this and all the charities Emma contacted were not able to assist.  

Within hours of Emma’s call we put an appeal on our Facebook page.  We needed an experienced horse owner who lived locally to meet with Emma and assess the horses.  Many people came to our aid within just minutes of placing the appeal. Within less than 24 hours of speaking with Emma, Denise and Victoria, who run a livery and stud just 10 minutes away,  went to view the horses. We are very grateful to everyone who offered their support.  

Denise and her aid Victoria, reported back to me to confirm the two elderly Gelderlanders in their mid twenties were very uncomfortable, suffering from arthritis and were in need of euthanasia.  Emma obtained Rodney’s consent at hospital who agreed with this decision and admitted he had been putting it off for some time.  Making the decision to put any animal to sleep is not easy and for those people who are suffering personal trauma in their lives it is even harder to make rational decisions. Rodney lived on his own and for many years his horses were his life, he drove these two Gelderlanders professionally both in competitions and for weddings, putting them to sleep for him is like saying goodbye to a huge era in his life, a happy one, a successful one and facing losing his foot and his depleting health further adds to his pain that horses are no longer going to be there giving him that reason, which so many of us share, to get up in the morning and he knew he would be even more lonely without them.

We worked with Emma to organise the euthansia of the two horses as quickly and painlessly as possible.  Not an easy experience for anyone and no less so for someone who is not at all horsey.  Emma was unaware who to contact and how much it would cost and it was a Friday evening at this point but we facilitated this all helping Emma along the way with a very difficult but necessary task. Emma was so very aware how much these two horses meant to Rodney, her close friend, who had owned them and cared for them for many years.  Our thoughts went out to Emma but the hunt who assisted and knew Rodney well came to her aid.  The horses did not have to undergo the stress of moving to a new home whilst in considerable discomfort.  They were put to sleep in the environment they knew, painlessly and without trauma.  They had no prospect of being rehomed and had worked hard in their lifetime.

Our job of helping Emma and Rodney’s horses did not end there. The two remaining Gelderlanders, kept at a different location, who were deemed in reasonable health by Denise and Victoria were still in need of urgent rehoming. I advised Emma to go back to the hospital to get more history on them both.  The more information we could gather about the horses the easier and quicker we could rehome them but it was still going to be a struggle. Rodney fortunately provided a contact of a lady who used to own the mare, Beryl.  She kindly agreed to take her back and is in the process of arranging to pick her up which is super news for Beryl but would leave poor Barney on his own making his rehoming case even more urgent.  Knowing little about his history rehoming him quickly I decided would not be a sensible or viable option so I went back to Redwings whom I have an excellent working relationship with.  Redwings fortunately have a centre not far from where Barney and Beryl are located in Warwickshire.  Redwings kindly agreed to take Barney in, assess him, give him the TLC that has been lacking whilst Rodney has been nursing his own health and then find him a super home.  All of this can be organised so that both Barney and Beryl go to their new homes on the same day although separate from one another.

Neither horses listed or rehomed directly through the Horses4Homes website but without a central point by which to facilitate finding the appropriate solution for these horses quickly and efficiently the outcome could have been very difficult indeed.  On occasion people sometimes assume Horses4Homes is just a website which by and large is automated and I hope this case goes some way to raise the awareness of the work we undertake tirelessly to help facilitate solutions to very real and urgent equine welfare rehoming problems.

If you can spare just a few pounds a month to support our work we will be able to help more people like Rodney and Emma who need and want to do the very best by their horses. Please click here to make a regular or one off donation.

Rebecca Evans
Rehoming & Development Manager

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