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Rescue Pony Xantha On Top of the World Thanks to Rehomer
Rescue pony, World Horse Welfare Xantha is having the time of her life as a driving pony thanks to her rehomer and Banchory-resident, Ann Raeburn and they are both being celebrated as part of World Horse Welfare’s annual Rehome a Horse Month.
Ann rehomed Xantha from World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre 15 years ago when she was looking for a pony to drive and Shetland Xantha turned out to be the perfect candidate. Due to problems with her feet, Xantha needed several months of slow exercise to build up her strength but once she reached full health there was no stopping her and the pair were soon clocking up many miles on the lanes and tracks of Aberdeenshire.
Ann and Xantha’s partnership has marked some impressive achievements including; several hundred mile- plus expeditions, introducing many people to the joys of carriage driving with Riding for the Disabled and meeting HRH The Princess Royal when she opened Belwade Farm’s new visitor centre in 2012. Standing at only 10hh, just over one metre tall, Xantha may be small in size but Ann describes her as having ‘the heart of a Clydesdale’. She said:
“I’d always had an ambition to ride in the hills and so my friend and I began planning a route with places for us to stay and most importantly fields for the ponies. My dream finally became reality in 2009 when we began with a fairly modest 50 mile trip and since then we’ve continued our yearly travels completing between 150-200 miles each time. Xantha pulls the carriage when we’re on the tracks which she absolutely loves and when we’re travelling over rougher terrain she becomes a pack pony – transporting our lunches, waterproofs and sleeping bags.
“The best way to describe Xantha is simply that she’s a lovely character. She is at her happiest when she’s driving and gives it her all – show her a new track and she’s off! She tackles the hills at a canter, then as it gets steeper slows to a trot and finally when it’s too steep she will stop and look round at you which is her way of saying ‘you need to get out and help!’.
“One of the greatest things about rehoming from World Horse Welfare is the back-up you receive. A field officer will come out and visit you twice a year to offer advice and support, plus you know that by rehoming a horse you’re making a space for another horse in need at one of World Horse Welfare’s Rescue and Rehoming centres. I’d say to anyone thinking about getting a horse to rehome instead of buying, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.”
Rehome a Horse month shines a light on the horses and ponies who are looking for homes but also showcases the stories of the 1,700 World Horse Welfare horses and ponies currently out in homes around the country from those competing at eventing, dressage, vaulting and showjumping to pleasure driving, hacking, side-saddle and those who provide faithful friendship to their rehomers and equine companions.
World Horse Welfare marked a 10 year record last year with 300 horses rehomed - and the charity hopes to exceed this number in 2015. World Horse Welfare Deputy Chief Executive and Head of UK, Tony Tyler, said:
“We are delighted to see the public’s greater interest in rehoming which is so important to the sustainability of our work in helping horses. We have worked hard to promote the variety and quality of our horses and ponies as well as the genuine advantages of rehoming over buying or breeding. Our rehoming scheme groups horses into several categories dependant on their age, experience and suitability for different activities and covers everything from non-ridden companions to those with potential to make competition horses. “
You can find out more about rehoming at: http://rehoming.worldhorsewelfare.org/