Rescue pony, Shanly is being showcased as part of World Horse Welfare’s annual Rehome a Horse month thanks to his amazing achievements with West Parley-based rehomer, Margaret Davies just one year after the pair met.
Shanly arrived at World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Somerset in 2013 as his owner had become ill and was no longer able to take care of him. He was just five years old and had very little training or experience but his gentle nature and easy going character showed potential for the future.
Margaret has always suffered from arthritis which often made it painful to ride in the conventional ‘astride’ way but she was keen that this wouldn’t stop her and so 25 years ago she began riding side-saddle. Margaret was looking for a horse to ride side-saddle and wanted to rehome instead of buying, because of the support you receive. One of her friends spotted Shanly on World Horse Welfare’s website, so she made the journey to see him with her husband and straightaway knew he was perfect.
Margaret said, “I first met Shanly when I was asked to go and fetch him in from the field at World Horse Welfare. He came straight over to me and I instantly felt we had a connection. He came to live with me shortly after and we quickly built up a strong bond whilst continuing his training on the ground. Once I felt he was ready, I had him professionally backed, first of all learning to carry a rider with a leg either side, then in December last year I had the honour of riding him side-saddle for the first time.
“He’s such a calm character that he’s just taken everything in his stride and whenever he is unsure of something he looks to me for reassurance – he knows that if I’m happy then he should be too! I damaged my back in a car accident earlier this year so I sometimes become unbalanced when riding but Shanly senses straightaway if I’m a bit wobbly and will stop to let me right myself. He’ll only continue once he is sure that I’m safe and secure which is an amazing feat for such a young horse.
“The bonus of rehoming for me is knowing that if anything should happen to me or my circumstances change that Shanly could always go back to World Horse Welfare and would be very carefully found another loving home, plus I can phone up at any time for advice and support so I have full peace of mind.
“Shanly and I are looking forward to attending some more side-saddle shows in the future and we’re also taking part in a side-saddle fun ride in the next few weeks where everyone wears traditional dress and we have tea and cakes. Shanly is such a lovely character and I simply couldn’t imagine life without him.”
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/