“Why buy when you can rehome?” Unwanted pony now a dazzling show star

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Rehome rather than buy or breed is the message that World Horse Welfare is sending, as it launches its annual Rehomed Horse of the Year Competition.

October is Rehome A Horse Month, and a young cob mare named Alicia is the poster pony for the campaign. In the above video, her rehomer, Fife horsewoman Tasha Webb, shares their rags to riches story.

Webb rehomed Alicia from World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre last October and is now encouraging others to do the same as her shy little rescue pony has become something of a showing super cob.

Alicia was rescued by the charity as a frightened, unhandled youngster. The dedicated team at Belwade Farm nursed her back to health and slowly helped her to trust humans again. When the time came for her to be rehomed it would take someone very special to see the potential of this brave little pony.

Webb was looking for a project to bring on in showing and instantly saw Alicia’s potential. “I (saw) this little hairy cob in the field, with tonnes of feather and tonnes of hair (and thought she) would do well in the show ring. We clicked pretty quickly. She was a bit nervous when she first arrived … now everyone loves her. She’s got a lovely temperament. She’s definitely cheeky but she’s well into work.”

Alicia now lives in Fife with her rehomer, Tasha Webb.

Alicia was backed to ride last October and then spent the winter resting, but 2019 has seen the hard-working pair achieve great things. Having competed in several disciplines, including dressage, showing in-hand and showing under saddle, they have qualified for the Traditional of The Year 2020 in two categories: Quest for a Star and In-hand Showing, as well as qualifying for the Caledonian Showing Championships later this month. One of the largest equine events in the showing calendar, Equifest, is next on their hit list and given their incredible success in their first season, their prospects are looking good.

“Whatever she wants to do, we’ll do. If she just wants to be a hacking pony then that’s all we’ll do, but it will be really nice to get her out … showing off what rescue ponies can do,” Webb said.

There are currently about 80 horses available for rehoming from World Horse Welfare.

The charity has a community of 1700 rehomers who care for more than 1800 rehomed horses, and all are eligible to enter the Rehomed Horse of the Year Competition, which closes at the end of the month.

Webb described her experience rehoming through World Horse Welfare as ‘lovely and supportive’ and says it’s great to know that if her circumstances change Alicia can always return to the charity, who will make sure she is looked after for the rest of her life.

Rehomed cob Alicia with Tasha Webb.
Helping is as easy as a share

World Horse Welfare is asking the horse community to take show their support for horse welfare and help it make 2019 a record-breaking rehoming year:

  1. Spread the rehoming message by visiting WHW’s rehoming page and sharing the profile of at least one horse or pony across your social media network.
  2. Display one of our Rehoming Rocks window stickers in your car, lorry, caravan, at home, in your office, at your yard, local veterinary surgery or riding school. Stickers are free from any World Horse Welfare Rescue and Rehoming Centre. Anyone who can carry a small stock of the stickers at till points or reception desks can email RHOTY@worldhorsewelfare.org putting window stickers in the subject line.
Rehomed Horse of the Year 2019

Rehomers from across the UK are invited to share images that capture a moment in their horse’s life, celebrate the special connection they have with their rehomed horse and reveal hilarious anecdotes that caused jaws to drop.

The three new 2019 categories are supported by three judges:

  1. In the picture (photography): Judge, The Horse Photographer, Matthew Seed
    Rehomers are asked to share an image that tells a story about their rehomed horse or captures a poignant moment in their life, along with a 100-word picture caption.
  2. An unbreakable bond: Judge, BBC Radio 2 DJ and charity Patron, Sara Cox
    We love hearing about the unique connections our rehomers have with their rehomed horse. This category asks them to share a story that sums about why their horse human bond is so special – whether they had an instant connection or whether their horse was the trusted friend they needed during a difficult time in their life.
  3. I wasn’t expecting THAT!: Judge, internet sensation, This Esme
    We know horses have a wonderful talent for surprising us! We are asking for hilarious anecdotes or red-faced moments that left everyone astounded.

The winner of the overall Supreme Champion will be judged by showjumper Joe Stockdale.

Entries for Rehomed Horse of the Year 2019 close on October 31.

Alicia when she first came into the care of World Horse Welfare.
Alicia when she first came into the care of World Horse Welfare.

World Horse Welfare’s Deputy Chief Executive Tony Tyler said the charity was and advocate for responsible breeding. “We strongly encourage accountability, good welfare and responsible ownership in all areas of breeding. Our Unbreakable Bond category underlines the fact that horses are not simply a commodity and they should be given a lifetime of care where their welfare is always of paramount importance.”

All horses who are ready for rehoming from World Horse Welfare are ully MOT’d and come with health records, a microchip and a passport. The rehoming team will also be completely honest about the unique character of each horse so there are no surprises.

Rehoming gives a horse who has had a poor start in life, the loving home they deserve, and creates space at World Horse Welfare Centres for a horse in need. The charity couldn’t continue its important work without amazing rehomers.

A World Horse Welfare horse comes with a lifetime of advice and support, over the phone and in person. The friendly, knowledgeable team works carefully to find the best match for horse and rehomer, but if circumstances change or things don’t work out for any reason the horse can be returned to World Horse Welfare, giving them a lifetime of security.

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