Rehoming CentreNovember 3, 2003
Homechecking explainedNovember 3, 2003
What we look for when homing a horse or pony.
We consider each potential loan home with one thought foremost
in our minds: “Will the horse benefit from this?” Our primary
concern is always for the horse, and regrettably we do have to turn
down some potential loan homes because of this. Most of what we look for is
common-sense and how we’d like to look after our own horses, to check things
are safe and that the carer is knowledgeable enough to take good care of the
This guide is not intended to put you off homing one of our
horses – but to give you an idea of what we look for and why.
- The potential carers must be kind and caring and compatible with the
pony or horse they wish to take on loan. Matching the right home to the
right horse is sometimes tricky but we’re proud that we usually manage
it quite successfully.
- The horse must be happy with the potential carer, i.e. relaxed in their
company and responsive to them etc. Just as some people don’t ‘click’
together, some horse/people combinations just don’t get on through no
fault of either.
- The home itself must be suitable for the specific horse, is a stable
needed, is there enough land, shelter – is the grass quality too good or
too poor for the horse, etc.
- Stables must be safe and secure. No sharp edges, holes in walls where
a hoof might get trapped, leaky roof, big enough, secure door, solid
construction, well drained and ventilated, no electrical wires within
reach or pipes that could get damaged, and any windows are barred. Care
is also taken to ensure it suits the particular horse – if it has a respiratory
problem then ventilation is key as well as being kept away from muck-heaps
and hay/straw stores, and thin-skinned horses don’t like draughts.
- The stable yard must be safe – again, no sharp edges, holes in walls
or floor, reasonably level and well-drained.
- Fields and any other area the horse may have access to (including being
led through) must all be safe and secure. No rubbish, rabbit-holes, poisonous
plants, unguarded farm implements etc. The field must be of an adequate
size for the horse and the grazing must not be too rich or too sparse
for the particular animal. Ponies have big health problems if kept on
rich grass. If the horse has a history of leg problems or arthritis then
preference will be given to level sites as slopes can hamper their recovery.
A good clean water supply must be available at all times, preferably an
automatic trough that’s cleaned regularly. The boundary must be secure
– no holes in the hedge, all fencing to be tight and secure – no loose
wires that might get entangled. Whilst not ideal, we will accept barbed
wire if it is tight and kept in good condition. Dartmoors in particular
are famous escapologists and can climb steep banks so extra care is taken
when homing one so it can’t escape. We also check that grazing can be
restricted if necessary – for ponies or laminitics when the grass can
grow faster than they can graze it safely. For ponies with sweetitch,
preference is given to homes that have high exposed positions where the
midge problem will be lessened. We also don’t like fields that are adjacent
to housing estates, bored kids can open gates, scare or injure horses
and there’s a greater risk from them being frightened by fireworks.
- Are any existing animals well cared for and happy? This is a good guide
to the standard of care at any given place.
- In 99% of all our horses, other equine company must also be present.
Horses are herd animals and nearly always prefer their own kind around
them. Very rarely we encounter a horse that does much better on their
own and we home them accordingly.
- Potential carer must be financially secure and able to afford the costs
involved in keeping a horse. This is often underestimated and problems
- Our horse will not arrive with any tack, headcollar, rugs etc – the carer
is expected to supply these. Also, transport costs involved in moving
the horse are again expected to be covered by the carer. Homechecking costs are paid for by the Sanctuary.
- Priority is given to homes in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset. This is primarily
a financial reason as our costs involved with homechecking rise steeply when we leave the local area.