Last year saw 154 Redwings horses and ponies find a new home, a record number for the charity.

Horses are rehomed on the charity’s Guardianship rehoming scheme as either ridden ponies, non-ridden companions or unbacked projects, for experienced Guardians to continue their training to be ridden.

In 2022 five former unbacked projects began life as riding school ponies at Turpins Lodge Riding School in Oxfordshire. Cosmos and Homer joined Turpins Lodge in December 2021, but 2022 saw them return for three more horses from Redwings – Merlin, Joy and Jonesy.

14hh, eight-year-old cob Jonesy, who was rehomed to Turpins Lodge in January 2022, was born at Redwings after his dam Bridget was found in a cargo container in Norfolk, severely underweight and with damage to her eye. Happily, she was able to deliver a healthy foal, who was then named Jonesy as a nod to the Bridget Jones films.

In the 12 months of 2022, he went from being completely unbacked to now being a regular in lessons and hacks at the riding school, and even coming home with his first rosette after he accompanied clients on a local fun ride.

Bridget when she arrived at Redwings

“The ponies we have had from Redwings have all settled in so well, and were backed and riding away fairly quickly,” said Caroline Catling, owner of Turpins Lodge. “All the work the Redwings team had put in, including preparing them for the vet, farrier, dentist and innumerable handling situations, meant they were set up for success, and made our life much easier.

“Our experience with Jonesy showed just that when, on only his first or second hack once backed, he was being ridden through the village and encountered a cement mixer, by some roadworks, and where the road was really narrow. He just walked straight past as if to say ‘Bring it on!’ and that was a perfect sign for us that he was going to be a good fit for the riding school.”

The Turpins Lodge ponies, and owner Caroline, featured in the ‘We Love Cobs’ episode of the charity’s podcast series, Sounds of the Sanctuary, catching up with their progress in their new home and why the five horses, who are all cobs or cob crosses, were an especially good fit for a riding school. 2022 saw Redwings launch its second series of the podcast, which has had over 5,000 downloads so far.

Rachel Angell, Head of Norfolk Equine Operations, who heads up the charity’s rehoming scheme said: “We’re delighted with these rehoming numbers, and that so many Redwings ponies have found lovely new lives with Redwings Guardians in 2022. The numbers only tell half the story of the work that teams from across Redwings do to find happy new homes for our horses though.

Redwings Jonesy as a foal

“Teams from across our sites highlight horses that they think would be suitable to rehome, and then rehoming teams at sites across Norfolk, Essex and Warwickshire, begin the thorough training programme to prepare them.

“Meanwhile our veterinary team ensure all the rehoming equines also have health checks, and routine dentals and vaccinations, whilst the charity’s field officers carry out home assessments to ensure new homes are a good fit – all supported by colleagues at our headquarters who handle all the administration of the scheme too!

“Redwings is 100% funded by donations, so all of this is only made possible by our kind supporters, and it really is a crucial way we can continue to make capacity in the Sanctuary to continue to help horses who desperately need us.”

Horses rehomed from Redwings are done so on a long-term loan arrangement, meaning their Guardian takes on all responsibilities for their care. For more information, visit:

Lead image: Redwings Merlin (left) and Redwings Jonsey (right) at Turpins Lodge

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