Midsomer Norton resident, Debbie Barrow, is being celebrated as part of World Horse Welfare’s Rehome a Horse Month, after she rehomed two rescue ponies, Dot and Guiness, from the charity’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre six years ago.
Crossways Night Nurse or Dot as she is known, came into the care of World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in October 2008 as part of a large welfare case where the owner had become overwhelmed by the huge number of horses and ponies in her possession. Dot was completely unhandled, very underweight and living in a completely unsuitable environment with little food, water or shelter.
It quickly became evident that Dot was also carrying a foal and in July 2009 she gave birth to a colt, Jacko, who is now a child’s riding pony. Dot progressed well through her rehabilitation and was backed to ride, proving herself to be a fantastic lead-rein pony.
In March 2011, Debbie’s mare sadly passed away and so she decided it was time to offer a home to two companion rescue ponies who were in need of a second chance. After applying online, Debbie and her daughter went to visit World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm and ended up meeting both Dot and Guiness out in the fields. Debbie said:
“Off we went to the paddock and after some reluctance to be caught, this little black pony with a blaze and a slightly wide-eyed, quizzical look was led up the track and I knew even from a distance that she would be part of our family and she seemed happy with us as well!
“We then needed to find a companion for her and the staff introduced us to Guiness, a slightly untidy Shetland-type pony who had just been returned from a previous home. Again, we just seemed to click and he completed the circle.
“Dot is a very pretty, sweet mare who always greets me with a whinny. If she were human she would be very similar to Alex Jones of the One Show. She is good looking, loves being groomed but a little quirky and perhaps a little wary of things or people she doesn’t know. She is very quick and has a lovely, floating trot, she loves her food and will follow me around the paddock encouraging me to let some fresh grass out if I am strip grazing and taking too long about it! She really doesn’t have a nasty bone in her body!
“Guiness is a cheeky, brave little pony who is definitely the boss. If he were human he would be ‘Just William’ – he ‘tolerates’ being groomed, as soon as one has brushed him, he will shake his head to mess up his mane and take himself off to roll! He is very intelligent and when I re arrange the fencing he will run along it, just to check if I’ve have left a gap for him to escape into the rest of the field!
“I applied for two companion animals originally but was told that Dot could be used as a lead-rein pony if I wished; this I did for a few months until my daughter who was quite small in build suddenly blossomed into adolescence and seemed to grow taller overnight so became too big to ride Dot. So we now lead them around the village where both ponies are so good, passing buses and tractors and people always ask about them. Unfortunately, I cannot give any details of great achievements at shows because I don’t have transport and there have not been any within walking distance. I gain pleasure in giving two animals who have had a bad start a home for life.
“I most definitely would recommend rehoming a horse or pony, it has been a very positive experience for me and my family. Both ponies settled in within a week of arriving; it was as if they had always been ours! There are lovely horses waiting for loving homes and one knows that there is the support of the charity which, if needed, has a wealth of knowledge and information should you require it. Also, one is helping the plight of horses not only in this country but around the world. I tell everybody who shows an interest where ours have come from and encourage them to take a look at the World Horse Welfare website, whether they are looking for a riding horse, youngster or a companion.”
September marks World Horse Welfare’s annual Rehome a Horse Month, a month of activity aimed at highlighting the benefits of rehoming, sharing just some of the amazing stories of rehomers around the country and raising awareness of the many horses and ponies still looking for a home. Each year, World Horse Welfare rehomes around 300 horses and ponies with over 1,800 currently out in loving homes around the UK.
World Horse Welfare Deputy Chief Executive, Tony Tyler, said:
“Rehome a Horse Month is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the many reasons why rehoming should always be the go-to option for anyone looking for a new horse or pony. Not only can you be guaranteed of complete honesty and transparency, but you also receive the support and back up of the World Horse Welfare team, plus the safety net that the horse or pony can be returned to our care at any time should your circumstances change.
“We are so grateful to all of our fantastic rehomers who are giving these horses and ponies a second chance at the life they deserve and it really is incredible to hear of all the amazing things they are achieving. From loyal companions to horse agility superstars, lead-rein ponies to driving dynamos and hacking horses to show ring successes – it seems there is nothing rehomed horses and ponies cannot do!”
Find out more about rehoming at: www.worldhorsewelfare.org/rehoming