Innovative rehoming scheme a lifeline for at-risk horses

Connemara gelding Tully has been successfully rehomed through the Blue Cross Home Direct scheme.
Success story: Following a suspensory injury, 13-year-old Connemara gelding Tully was deemed no longer suitable for ridden work and Deborah turned to Blue Cross to help find him a suitable companion home. The charity had previously successfully rehomed two other horses from the same livery yard that Tully was kept at, and Deborah wanted the same for Tully. Lorna had approached Blue Cross looking for another companion to join her small herd and the Blue Cross Home Direct team matched her with Tully, who now has a perfect life in retirement. © Blue Cross

Predictions indicate that many horses in Britain may be facing a tough winter as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause difficulties for owners.

Welfare charities predict that this winter may be catastrophic for horse carers, as job losses continue, and finances are squeezed. While most equine charities are full and unable to help the public with their horses, national pet charity Blue Cross is offering a lifeline for vulnerable horses and ponies via its Home Direct scheme.

The innovative Home Direct service provides horses with new homes straight from their current home. It also helps take the pressure off struggling charities, so that they can focus on welfare emergencies. Through the service, every horse is assessed thoroughly and then advertised on the charity’s website. Once a potential new owner has been found Blue Cross will arrange and oversee initial visits. If it is a good match, the horse will then be rehomed directly from the old home to the new one. All the home visits and checks will be completed as if the horse was from a Blue Cross centre.

Blue Cross Home Direct has helped 87 horses since it was launched in 2015. It also offers the service to other equine welfare charities that don’t specialise in rehoming. Any horse can be considered for Home Direct, as long as they pass a health check and are not on any long-term medication.

Vicki Alford, who manages the Horse Rehoming Centre at Burford, said Home Direct had proven to be a practical and efficient rehoming scheme.

“We understand the struggles that many horse owners may be going through as the pandemic continues. We encourage them to approach us whilst their horses are still healthy rather than risk them being passed from pillar to post, potentially ending up in a welfare compromised situation,” Alford said.

“We are here to listen and help, not to judge, and with Home Direct we can help people as much as we are helping horses.”

If you need support, advice or guidance about giving up your horse please email

» These Blue Cross horses are looking for homes.

» If you are not in a position to rehome, but still wish to help, please consider supporting Blue Cross.

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