If your horse or pony is used to living in a herd and circumstances mean a new home with less friends is around the corner, you may want to consider getting a companion horse or pony.
A companion animal gives stability and company to a working horse or a retired horse that doesn’t like living on its own. Horses are herd animals and generally prefer company (although some break the mould and are more than happy living on their own.) There are several things to consider if you’re thinking of getting a companion:
1) Expense – can you afford one? The basic cost of keeping a companion horse or pony can almost be as much as a ridden horse. Farrier costs, dentist, fly protection products, hay in winter if forage is limited and rugs for the bitter winter days, do some simple maths beforehand and check you can cover the maintenance costs of a companion horse or pony.
2) Why you need one – companions can serve several purposes:
- Companion to a single ridden horse
- To help manage inseparable horses living as a pair
- To provide company for a youngster or veteran horse
- To be kept as a pet
3) Choosing the right horse or pony – the companion must suit the horse or pony it is to live with and bear in mind the age of the horse you’re finding a partner for as well. If your horse is a youngster, it’s probably not sensible to find a companion that is a veteran as the youngster may be too playful for the veteran. Alternatively, if you own a feisty mare, it may not get on with a strong-willed gelding.
4) Think about your routine – ensure you have enough time to care for a companion without piling the pressure on yourself and double-check with your farrier that they can also add another horse to their books. Do you have time to groom them every few days, check for cuts and other issues as well as keep up to their handling so you don’t risk the companion turning feral?
5) Ask around – spreading the word with friends in the horse world may help you find the perfect companion. You might even find someone who wants a new home for their horse or pony without relinquishing ownership which would help with any worries you may have about maintenance costs.
6) Public Liability Insurance – check your policy covers you for owning an additional horse and other restrictions that it may impose on you for multiple horse ownership. The Harry Hall One Club covers you for two horses you own or loan under the individual One Club Gold policy and the One Club family policy covers up to three horses and four people living at the same address. A quick call to your insurance provider will provide an answer.
7) Vet Fees Insurance Cover – have a think about the type of cover your horse will need. A simple vet fees cover such as the insurance policy available at Harry Hall may suffice for a companion. This covers accidental external injury and your maintenance costs will be kept to a minimum.
8) Look for a companion at a horse charity – World Horse Welfare are frequently on the look out for rehomers and a lot of the horses and ponies in their care are suitable for companionship. When you rehome from a charity you are offering a horse who may have had a poor start in life a loving home. With four centres around the country take a look to find your local centre and see if your companion horse or pony is waiting for you – Rehome through World Horse Welfare
Have fun and happy looking!