Blue Cross supporters foster horses to help charity during lockdown

Blue Cross supporters BR Farm
REHOMING: Horses and ponies looking for homes are being advertised promptly on the Blue Cross website. (FW18-525NN)

NATIONAL Pet Charity Blue Cross has been overwhelmed by the equestrian sector’s support to help provide temporary homes for as many horses in need as possible during lockdown.

With the charity’s two horse rehoming centres closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and staffing numbers greatly reduced, several of the charity’s regular support yards have stepped in to help out, taking horses temporarily into their own care.

RECOVERED: Some of the eight ponies, who have recovered from ringworm thanks to a yard which supports the Blue Cross. (FW18-524NN)

Generous Blue Cross borrowers have also been offering practical support; with the centres closed to admissions the charity needed to find a solution for any horses needing to return from loan during this time. An appeal to current Blue Cross borrowers resulted in an incredible 33 homes being offered to take returning horses on a short-term basis.

Currently Blue Cross has 82 horses remaining at its centres and a further 29 now in foster or support yards. One remarkable yard willingly took in eight horses with suspected Ringworm. Jennifer Handy from Leicestershire immediately agreed to take the horses to help Blue Cross, despite them all suffering from the highly infectious fungal disease.

“I have dealt with cases of ringworm before, so it didn’t deter me from taking this lovely group of ponies on,” explains Jennifer. “I am lucky to have lots of fields and barns, which means I have been able to keep them separate from my other horses. They have been treated with a body wash and spot treatment and all have now recovered. My family and I have a genuine love of horses and wanted to help the Blue Cross at this difficult time.”

The charity is also continuing with the initial part of its matchmaking process. Horses and ponies looking for homes are being advertised promptly on the Blue Cross website, applications are being assessed and prospective borrowers are being contacted to discuss the rehoming process. Some straightforward horses with low training needs, are being rehomed under strict social distancing guidelines, while others are being matched to new homes to help the charity act faster when things get back to normal.

The fact that Blue Cross has been using virtual technology for some years to help with home-checking of horses on their loan scheme has proved advantageous during the lockdown restrictions. By using WhatsApp or Facetime video calls, Blue Cross has been able to keep on top of its home-checks around the country.

“So far, we have been able to stay ahead of the game, thanks to our familiarity with the use of support yards and virtual visits,” said Ruth Court, Horse Welfare Manager at Blue Cross. “We will never cease to be amazed at the generosity and kindness of our borrowers and the tireless innovation and adaptability of our teams. I am so proud of our ‘can do’ approach.

“We feel confident that we have the necessary plans in place and can cope with any horses that have to return from loan. We are in a strong position to keep pushing ahead with our rehoming process to give every horse the best possible chance of a new life.”

Blue Cross continues to work closely with other charities and organisations, sharing experiences, knowledge and ideas to prepare for the months ahead.

If you need support, advice or guidance about giving up your horse, please email: helpmyhorse@bluecross.org.uk

For details of Blue Cross horses looking for homes please visit www.bluecross. org.uk/rehome/ horse. If you are not in a position to rehome, but still wish to help, please consider supporting Blue Cross via their website.

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