“The best thing I have done this year is to take Billy to Claire. Whatever I say will not sum up just how pleased I am… whatever happens he will have had the very best chance. It is the best of setups, she is remarkable and you have made this possible. Thank you.”
Felicity O’sullivan first contacted Horses4Homes on 9th November to tell us all about the prospects she had for a 7 year old Warmblood she had bred that was up for sale for £7500 a few months previously. Billy is a stunning chestnut gelding of 7 years that she had high hopes for and had paid professional event riders to train and compete to ensure he had the best of careers ahead of him. Sadly, as so often is the case, this was not to be. Billy began to go lame and the vet after extensive diagnostic investigations diagnosed pain in the Sacrolliac and his career as a 2 star eventer was over before it had truly begun. Felicity knew she needed to rehome him but was sick with worry on how best to do this to protect his welfare as the risks of him being sold on from pillar to post due to his health problems were a huge concern.
After many conversations, Billy was listed on 30th November. He was eagerly awaited on our facebook page as people were pre-warned of his availability. Every effort was made to promote him to the entire database of users and through our social media outlets. His post on facebook reached over 1400 of our followers, 450 became aware virally which helped to bring new people to Horses4Homes, becoming familiar with the types of horses available and the safeguards in place to help them reach the most suitable homes.
Had each and every person who had shown interest in Billy contacted his owner to arrange a viewing the chaos and time involved to decipher who was most suitable would have been incredibly stressful and baffling. Anyone who was seriously interested was advised to liaise with Rebecca, the Rehoming Manager, to discuss their situation in more detail and follow the steps to apply if they really felt they could give Billy a long term future irrespective of whether he became fully sound or not.
Billy received 2 applicants on his day of listing and an additional 4 a few days later. Given the interest in him initially this is a relatively low number but this just goes to show that completing the Horses4Homes online application questionnaire and paying the £10 fee is incredibly effective at weeding out those people who are genuine candidates for the horse and those who simply empathise with the owner, like the horse and dream about what “could” be.
Felicity chose to wait 2 weeks or so for all the applications to come in and then assessed each in turn, spoke in person to each of them to further help her to decide who she should invite to meet Billy. Felicity, who first doubted that a suitable home could be found, was blown away by the quality of the applications that came forward for Billy.
The applicants for Billy included a chiropractor, an animal behaviourist, a dressage rider & equine journalist as well as very experienced horse owners with their own land who could offer Billy a forever home irrespective of whether he became fully sound or not.
Felicity kept in regular, often daily, contact with Rebecca to discuss in detail the pro’s and cons of each applicant which, given their quality was not an easy task. After talking extensively with each applicant Felicity went to view the potential home of one applicant and to meet her in person. She felt utterly convinced that the applicant would be the best home imaginable for Billy at which point she did a final check by contacting her referees and the rehome agreement was drawn up. Felicity then transported Billy to the applicant and keeps in regular contact with her on his progress. The applicant, Billy’s new owner, has given Felicity an open invitation to visit him any time and to remain an important role in his life.
Felicity felt incredibly grateful to each and every applicant who took the considered time to complete the application and who, in principle, were prepared to offer her horse a secure home. She went on to thank each applicant individually and confirmed to them the exceptionally high standard of the applications awarded.
If you believe the work of Horses4Homes is a credible mechanism to help horses like Billy we need your support by way of donations. Please consider making a regular donation of just a few pounds each month. With sufficient funds Horses4Homes will be able to help more horses and the need, as I am sure you are aware is considerable.
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