World Horse Welfare rehomed a record number of horses and ponies last year, despite the challenging circumstances.

356 equines were rehomed by the charity in 2020, surpassing the previous record of 350 in 2015.

This follows news that Redwings Horse Sanctuary had experienced a similar trend, with 75% increase in horses finding new homes in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Despite initially not being able to rehome horses during the first lockdown, and adaptations needing to be made to the application and rehoming processes, charity staff and supporters worked tirelessly to make up for lost time.

“This is a truly amazing achievement and is down to our fantastic supporters who have offered all these horses and ponies homes,” said Tony Tyler, World Horse Welfare Chief Executive.

“It is also a testament to our incredible teams at each of the farms, who have continued to care for and prepare the horses for rehoming throughout the restrictions.

“They have had to adapt their way of working and, in turn, we have had to make changes to the way people apply and how we process those applications. It’s definitely been the year of virtual home visits.”

World Horse Welfare’s newly launched rehoming website sets out the process and makes applications straightforward.

Rehomers receive an honest assessment of their chosen horse and their capabilities, as well as the reassurance that if their circumstances change, the rehomed horse can be returned to World Horse Welfare.

Challenging times

The report Britain’s Horse Problem was recently published by equine welfare organisations including World Horse Welfare.

It reveals how the pandemic has both impacted welfare charities and is also expected to create significantly more equine welfare problems at a time when charities are least able to cope with them.

“Equine welfare charities have been overstretched trying to help as many horses as possible, grappling with crisis management to the best of our ability over the past seven years, but covid could push us over the edge,” said Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare.

“Now is the time to highlight to the public and government that we see a grim equine welfare storm brewing, and that we urgently need support to cope with it. It is as important as ever to better tackle the root causes of this systemic scourge and change the system to better protect horses and to truly hold owners to account.”