Do people really ever need companion horses?

(17 Posts)
TataClaire Tue 23-Apr-13 23:33:23

Our Bob the cob has a permanent leg problem and we're getting it ultrasounded to find out exactly what's happening - but I suspect that it'll be a case of he'll only be good for the occasional potter...leading to inevitable difficult choices...it's so hard as we love him, and he's otherwise perfectly happy and healthy, but paying livery for a 16h cob with a gammy leg you can't ride more than in walk a couple of times a week (he enjoys his potters - I just worry Im speeding up/worsening his problem) is a bit potty isn't it? Or am I being mean? On the other hand he's such a lovely chap and is perfectly fine as a lawn ornament and would make a great field companion but how would I find him a place?! confused

ClearlyDad Wed 24-Apr-13 00:00:50

Companion horses do have their uses. If you have a local trainer (race/dressage/competition horses) he may be interested... a less mobile cob would encourage the expensive and highly trained horses not to tear-arse around and damage themselves when unsupervised!

kirrinIsland Wed 24-Apr-13 00:24:15

My lame old mare is currently residing at a friend's place as a companion - for her lame old mare!
It's not free, but I only pay a token amount. I save money, she didn't have to get another horse for company when her other old horse died and neither of us have had to make an awful decision on financial grounds.
It's doable, but personally I'd only have given her to someone I know.

They do, but in my case only a pony. I keep my children's grown out of 12.2 as a nanny to a slightly loony TB and when he goes (he's only 20 so hopefully a while yet) I've decided to go to the local sales and rescue something from the meat man. I wouldn't want something the size of your lovely sounding cob, but that doesn't mean someone else wouldn't. Word of mouth is probably the safest way of finding a responsible new home.

Floralnomad Wed 24-Apr-13 13:28:18

I don't think its mad to pay livery for a retired/semi retired horse. All of our horses and ponies have had lovely retirements before eventually having to be PTS when their issues became unmanageable . At one point I had 3 horses on full livery and 2 were retired . If your horse has provided you with years of fun and enjoyment why is it strange to pay for him to have a nice retirement. I do accept that we are a little strange as we don't sell any horse / pony on as to us its like selling the cat or dog . Which is why at the moment we pay full livery for a 11.2 Dartmoor!

Plomino Wed 24-Apr-13 14:58:18

Mine does . Before I bought enzo , had my sensitive petal Danish warmblood and a 12 hand welsh pony to keep him company . He actually hates being on his own .

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 15:01:03

Think of Black Beauty. Yes it's expensive but unless you can be certain of finding a reputable place for him where you know he will be loved and cared for - well looking after our animals until the end of their days is what we sign up for isnt it?

Plomino Wed 24-Apr-13 15:07:39

I paid livery for my 34 yr old , and I know plenty of yards where there are more retired horses than working ones !

Most of the horses on our yard are retired/ light hack only.

We don't have the facilities the other yards have so its a bit cheaper & ideal for horses not in heavy work :-)

Millie2013 Wed 24-Apr-13 22:12:49

Another one here with two field ornaments on full livery; one 30yo (childhood pony) and my horse, who is currently unridden, due to on/off lameness and the fact that I have a baby smile

newfavouritething Thu 25-Apr-13 12:38:02

Ask around. I live on a farm and have a horse, but don't want the hassle of horsey girls (sorry, but am sure you all know what I mean). Currently have a retired 14hh arab/welsh that belongs to a friend of a friend. She comes to see him occasionally and pays insurance, feet, wormer etc. He lives in and out with mine (have a big stable to come and go as they like) and we provide grazing/haylage and everyone is happy.

superfluouscurves Thu 25-Apr-13 16:17:48

I came across this website today - it's an ad in the back of the May edition of 'Your Horse' magazine. No idea how legit it is or anything (could be marvellous!) - Carl Hester is a patron so probably ok!!

It might be more for people who are in straightened circumstances though and have to re-home owing to illness/divorce etc.

Anyway, looking at the browse list, it would seem there is a 'market' (not the right word in this instance but ykwim) for companions.

Booboostoo Thu 25-Apr-13 17:32:52

I've taken on an older pony companion as I needed another one to live out 24/7 with my oldie. I have also retired my own horses and kept them as long as they were sane and pain free in the field. However I have my own land and it is easier (and cheaper) to accommodate one more.

If I were you I would look at other livery options like grass livery or a retirement livery (go with word of mouth to find a reputable place). If you do decide to loan, vet the home very carefully and visit often. There are some lovely loan homes out there, but equally there are unscrupulous people who pretend to loan your horse only to sell him on for a profit.

Pixel Thu 25-Apr-13 18:02:35

I just looked at the 'Wanted' list. Blimey, they all want a nice safe, non-spooky hack that is good in heavy traffic and can do a little light showing/jumping. Preferably it can teach their novice six year old child and their granny too. Don't we all! horses like that are like gold dust and seem to be the ones holding their price as they are in demand. I've looked at the first five pages and only found one companion wanted. The site does look very professional and I don't doubt their aims are good but I'm a little confused. On the 'about us' page it says It is not possible to sell your horse through Horses4Homes. The site caters for transfer of ownership, loans and part loans yet on the wanted page there are prices next to some of the horses, I assume this is what people are prepared to pay? For example, someone wants an eventer for £300 and someone else an endurance horse for £1000. Unless it means something else? But what?

superfluouscurves Thu 25-Apr-13 20:02:54

Yes, Pixel sorry, didn't have time to look at entire site earlier. Noted there were loads of companions on offer - presumably they do get taken on by people or site wouldn't be operating - but didn't see there were so few companions wanted sad

Bit depressing viewing all the old/injured horses in need of homes too.

Booboostoo Fri 26-Apr-13 10:40:25

It is difficult to find a genuine companion home simply because there are so many companion horses on offer and even as a field ornament it still costs money and takes a lot of time to properly look after a horse.

I think people who are offering companion loans have to be very realistic and very careful. They should:
- inspect the yard where the horse will be kept
- see proof of address of the prospective loaner and take up references (i.e. written references and they should call up to confirm they are genuine)
- google the prospective loaner's name/phone/address to make sure they are not a dealer in disguise or someone who sells on a lot of horses
- have a written contract
- expect the loaner to stay in frequent contact with texts, e-mail and photos and still they should visit their horse at least every few months
- microchip their horse before it leaves for the loan
- and be prepared to take the horse back at short notice if there is a problem

Pixel Fri 26-Apr-13 19:20:47

You do have to be very careful, I don't think I could risk it unless the horse was going to someone I knew well. I remember this and also there was a place doing 'retirement livery' where people were paying for their horses' keep not knowing that they'd already gone for meat, but I can't remember enough details of that.

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