A new British initiative has received £15,000 in Sport England funding to rehome 200 horses with new loan, share or owning agreements.
The British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) participation programme, Hoof, has teamed up with rehoming charity Horses4Homes in a London 2012 equestrian legacy initiative to rehome 200 horses to riders riding at least once a week for 30 minutes or more.
Research shows that alongside horse ownership, horse loan and horse share are useful catalysts for more regular sports participation and can encourage greater retention. Meanwhile current statistics put the number of horses in Britain needing new homes or rescue at around 7000. By working together both organisations are looking forward to positive outcomes to drive improved horse welfare alongside increased numbers of horse riders.
“We see horse sharing as a real opportunity in our quest to get more people horse riding,” said Maggie Still, Head of Participation at the BEF. “Horses4Homes have done a great job in regulating the rehoming process; their robust screening system and the tailored agreements they have developed make them a leader in this field.
“Both the BEF and Sport England see the partnership as a great way for people who have the right skills and resources to get closer to owning a horse in a fully supported environment. We’re especially pleased to be working with an organisation as thorough and well respected as Horses4Homes.”
The charity delivers its service online through its website www.horses4homes.net. The site, established in 2012, has about 6500 registered users, lists over 50 horses each month for loan, share and ownership transfer and has successfully placed more than 140 horses to date.
With the added investment, Rehoming & Development Manager Rebecca Evans is hoping to achieve much more: “I am really excited about this project and thrilled to have the backing of the BEF to support our work. We are confident this funding will enable Horses4Homes to find even more super homes for the increasing number of horses in the UK which need our help. Horse riding and ownership is one of the most rewarding hobbies an individual can have, however, it is the appropriate matching of horse to rider which is key to this enjoyment.
“The service offered by Horses4Homes addresses this at the heart, helping to not only find long term, loving homes for horses but also aiding lapsed riders back into the sport by efficiently enabling them to find their perfect equine friend. Individuals are matched to the horse in accordance with the home they can provide, their experience and riding ability. The thorough screening process helps to ensure the partnership is a long and enjoyable one for both horse and rider,” said Evans, who is Vice Chair of the National Equine Welfare Council.
Horses4Homes has horse welfare at its heart and owners using the website forgo a sale price in order to prioritise finding the most suitable new carer for an often much loved friend. Additional income will help to raise the profile of horse sharing and Horses4Homes as a rehoming charity to increase potential rehome opportunities and measure the impact of the work.