The problem of unwanted horses in the UK has been increasing and has now reached a critical point, as outlined in the NEWCs report “Left on the Verge- In the Grip of a Horse Crisis in England.” Horses4Homes aims to address the rehoming crisis by giving owners who need to rehome their horse a way to advertise their horses online and therefore match them up with suitable adopters who can also place adverts requesting a horse. This study was conducted using data collected over the first 16 months of the charity’s existence and aimed to answer the following questions: “What makes a horse rehomable, and how do the horses available for rehoming compare with the demand for horses.”
Unsurprisingly, horses that could be ridden were more likely to be rehomed than those that could not. Horses with a current health problem were less rehomable. Taller, weight carrying horses were easier to rehome- the average height of the rehomed horses was 16hh and the average maximum weight carriage was 12.4 stone. Horses that were available to be rehomed anywhere within the country were also likely to be more successful in finding a new home. The gender of the horse did not affect its’ rehomability. Neither did age (average age of rehomed horse 11.8 years) Location within the country was not a significant factor either, and nor was the presence of a behavioural issue (eg stable vices, ridden problems)
The most common horses requested by people looking for a horse through the website were those that were available for loan, were suitable as all-rounders, were between 14.3-16hh and were considered “safe.” The qualities requested are shown in figure 1.
Generally, the horses available for rehoming matched up well with the characteristics requested by people looking for a horse. However there was a significant difference between the heights of horses requested and those available (figure 2)
It is hoped that data collected from the charity over time can give a real insight into what makes a horse “rehomable” and can hopefully lead to targeted strategies to overcome the problems of the current surplus within the equine industry, as well as providing an invaluable service to those rehoming their horses.