David Boyd is equine charity World Horse Welfare’s Chief Field Officer. He’s been really busy lately, finding loan homes for rescue ponies…
“As a Field Officer, part of my job involves carrying out checks on prospective loan homes. Whether it’s at a livery yard or a private home, I need to make sure that the home is not just safe but also meets the needs of that particular horse or pony. A field of rich, lush grass might be fine for a Thoroughbred but would be totally unsuitable for a pony prone to weight gain and laminitis.
“I recently carried out a check on a lovely home in Lincolnshire. I needed to check the suitability of the premises for two Shetland ponies. The borrower already had a small group of Shetland ponies so the premises were already ‘Shetland proof’. The grazing was suitable for their needs and the bottom rail of the fences had been lowered to prevent these expert escape artists from making a quick get away! After having a good look around and speaking with the borrower, I was satisfied that they could offer the ponies an excellent home.”
Could you re-home a pony?
“I am often asked how you go about applying for one of our horses or ponies. It’s actually pretty easy. We run our horse loan scheme through our website – worldhorsewelfare.org – and it’s updated every week with new horses and ponies. If you see one you like, make an application online and if you and the pony sound like a good match, a member of staff will be in touch. They will have a chat with you and invite you to come and meet the horse at the centre at which it lives (Norfolk, Lancashire, Aberdeenshire or Somerset).
“Once you’re at the centre, you will get the chance to meet and groom the horse and find out some more about its personality. If it’s a riding horse, you’ll also have a riding assessment. If that all goes to plan, you will probably be asked to come back several times to make sure that the match is right.
“That’s where my colleagues and I come in to check the potential home. If there are no problems with the home check, then it’s time to arrange a suitable date for the borrower to collect the horse. But our job doesn’t stop at the home check. As our horses are only rehomed on a loan basis, we need to make regular visits, sometimes unannounced, to make sure that they are happy and being cared for appropriately. With 1,700 horses and ponies out in loan homes, it certainly keeps us busy!”