What’s it like to rehome a horse from us? Here are a few lovely messages from some of our existing carers


Phil and Paula with Sapphire 



“Since Sapphire came to live with us I can honsetly say we’ve never been so happy. She is everything the Sanctuary told us about her. Her manners are perfect, she’s very happy to work and is good with our other horses.

Sapphire has been to several shows doing Novice Working Hunter and Showjumping. She has many rosettes already including one 1st place. We’ve been on two fun rides when she acts like a child in a sweet shop. It seems to be very new to her. We adore her, we feel like we’ve won the lottery. P.S. We’ve recommended you to several people already.”




Mum Kerry Carruthers and her eight-year-old daughter Lucia with Storm Cloud

We were looking for a pony that Lucia could enjoy with no plans for showing. We really weren’t expecting much from him, but I wanted a rescue pony because there are so many out there looking for good homes.  The Sanctuary were great and told us all about his training and his likes and dislikes, but we never expected him to be such an amazing little pony. Storm Cloud is really intelligent and bold, and he has really bonded with Lucia who just adores him.

“We wanted a pony we could keep forever, and we were prepared to take things slowly and let him get used to things at his own pace. But he’s loved everything we’ve shown him, and he soaks up experiences like a sponge. We’ve taken him for hacks and crossed rivers, to the beach for the first time and now to loads of local shows. As long as you’re with him, giving him reassurance, he totally trusts you and takes it all in his stride. 

“Lucia has autism and is visually impaired, but he really takes good care of her. He’s the perfect pony. Storm Cloud is also attracting a lot of attention wherever he goes, with numerous offers to buy him, even from show judges. He’s so lovely to look at and he’s so well behaved that people often come up to us at shows to find out more. They are always really surprised when I tell them he’s a rescue pony.

 “I’ve been around horses all my life and he’s the best pony I have ever had by a million miles. We feel like we’ve won the lottery.” 



Debbie Percy with Ares

“I feel so lucky to loan Ares. Having lost my confidence completely after several nasty falls from my now retired mare, I realised I really needed a horse to restore my confidence and remind me that riding was fun. After looking with no success I had pretty much given up when a friend tagged me on Facebook telling me that Ares was available for loan.

“I completed the form and promptly forgot about it as I assumed he would be hugely popular. I think he was, but amazingly I got the call to ask if I would be interested in loaning him! On the first visit I wasn’t sure – he was a bit grumpy. Apparently he didn’t appreciate being ridden whilst the other ponies had their tea – poor chap! By half way into the second visit and a hack out along the lanes I was already smitten. I also discovered that he wasn’t a grump after all, but rather a lovely friendly chap. The six visits the Sanctuary insists on for ridden horses was perfect. I had lots of time to ask so many questions and try him in many different situations – schooling indoors and outdoors, on the flat and over some poles, hacking alone and in company, and near busy traffic! I passed my home check, and completed all the paperwork and on the sixth visit I bought him home.

He quickly settled into life on the yard and he and my horse Valdi have become firm friends. They make me laugh every day with their antics. He is such a character and at only just six, very well behaved…on the whole!  We have taken things slowly, mainly hacking and a little schooling with a couple of outings to a novice xc clinic where he really didn’t put a foot wrong.

“I love him to bits. And everyone at the Mare and Foal sanctuary were so helpful and friendly throughout the whole process, I would thoroughly recommend loaning from them.



Annie Smith and eight-year-old daughter Hannah with Shetland Reggie

“We had been keeping Pearl at a livery stable, so we realised when we moved home we needed to get a companion pony. And Reggie has turned out to be perfect. He gets on well with Pearl and is quite happy to be left on his own when she’s out hacking or at a show.

“Reggie is such a friendly and cheeky little chap who has us laughing all the time. There isn’t a nasty bone in his body and he really seems to enjoy life. He loves a scratch and a cuddle and Hannah adores him.”

Hannah said: “He’s so cuddly and affectionate. Every night he comes to the stable door for a good night kiss.”





Karen with Erinerin

“After losing my beautiful mare last year I never thought I would find happiness with another equine partner. How wrong I was!
I contacted The Mare and Foal Sanctuary and before long met the gorgeous Erin. I fell for her straight away and knew she was the one for me. The staff at Upcott Park are all amazing and do a fantastic job. Nothing was too much trouble for them. Erin came home at the beginning of February and our bond has grown even stronger, she loves being fussed and cuddled!
I can highly recommend The Mare and Foal Sanctuary for anyone looking to give a horse a forever home. There is always someone on the end of the phone for aftercare advice and most importantly regular visits give both parties peace of mind. Thank you so much to all of the wonderful staff for pairing me up with my ‘other half’!”

Karen and Erin xxx



Ann with Babouschka 



Hello, My name is Babs.  I’m a 16.2 bay mare and I am 11 this year.  This is my little story.

My mum came to the Sanctuary when she was in foal with me, she is a pony, so imagine the surprise when a lump like me popped out!  They named me Babouschka, very grand.

As I matured, it became apparent that I had hind leg problems.  There was no expense spared on vets, I even had an operation.  I was given so much care and tending.  I think I was lucky to be at the Sanctuary as not many private homes would have gone to such extremes to try and get me fit and well.  Unfortunately, every time I made progress after a while things went backwards again.  It was eventually decided that I’d never make a riding horse.  I also suffered from bad sweet itch, which didn’t help matters.  After many years at the Sanctuary I became sound enough in the field to be considered for re-homing as a companion horse.

Last July I went to my first permanent loan home.  I was 10 by then.

My carers had had their horse May since she was a yearling, she was elderly and had bad melanomas, as is common with grey horses.  Their vet advised them that time was running out for her and suggested they tried the Mare and Foal Sanctuary to find a companion horse for their other elderly mare Winnie.  They contacted the Sanctuary and explained the situation. They were very understanding and helpful.  They saw my profile on line (a bit like a dating agency) and liked the look of me and they weren’t put off by my problems.  The wheels were set in motion and they came to visit me.  They were silly and came a day early, however, this did not phase the staff.  I was turned out in a big field with lots of other horses.  I showed them how easy I was to catch and leave the other horses.  Years of good handling had taught me good manners.

They saw how easy I was about my sweet itch rugs.  They thought I had a lovely kind eye.  A home visit was arranged, to make sure that the new premises were suitable and the necessary references were obtained from their vet, who had dealt with them for many years.  The Sanctuary like potential carers to see the horse at least twice to make sure they are well matched.  They came back again and gave me a groom and lots of treats.

On the 10th July, May was sadly put to sleep.  Winnie was extremely upset.  Later that day I was collected and taken to my new home.  It was all very strange for me. We never know where we are going, how we will be treated and how the new routine will suit us.  Winnie was pleased when I arrived and we instantly became friends. There was no kicking or silliness, although Winnie remained quite sad for several weeks.

When I get anxious I have a few silly habits, like all horses. My neck grows by feet and I’m probably a bit intimidating, I weave slightly and can’t help tossing my big head around.  Obviously, this was a huge change for me, and it took a while for me to settle.  Also, my new carers hadn’t had any previous experience of dealing with sweet itch.  However, none of this proved a problem as the Sanctuary were always on the end of the phone for any questions and advice.  Every three months I have a home visit from the Sanctuary to make sure I am being kept in good condition and everything is ticking along nicely.

I am now really part of the family.  Winnie and I are great friends, although she can be a bit of a bossy old boot at times.  Winnie is quite old and has cushings, but my carers tell me not to worry, should anything happen to her they will find me a new friend from the Sanctuary.

Please hear my story and encourage other people to become carers.  We all want a nice home and to be part of a family.  The Sanctuary always provide loads of support, and nothing is too much trouble.  The staff have worked so hard to get me well, people just don’t realise.  So please help if you can.



Sarah and Chai

“I’ve had Chai for a year now, and what a year. From gentle little hacks, getting to know each other to galloping across open fields and fun rides. I would highly recommend being a carer for the Mare and Foal Sanctuary. From the first phone call to Chai arriving, all the members of staff were lovely, caring and helpful. Even now I can still pick up the phone and have a chat about anything.
I wish I had done this years ago.”