Don't Overlook Her Just - Big Horse She Isn't Small

SIZE isn’t everything and good friends can come in large packages according to an equine rescue struggling to find a home for a companion horse as people say she is just too big.

Totem Horses, a not-for-profit rescue near Llanfechain, close to the Powys/Shropshire border is appealing for a companion home for Scarlet, a horse who is around 14 years old and 15.3hh (hands high).

Scarlet, who is a chestnut coloured mare, cannot be ridden due to issues in her past, so she is looking for a home as a companion which is why her size seems to be causing issues.

Totem founder, Jo Barr explains, “Although we get quite a few people coming to us looking for an animal as a non-ridden companion to an existing horse or pony no one ever wants to hear about or look at poor Scarlet because of her size.

“When people are looking for a companion they tend to want a Shetland or a small pony but actually Scarlet would be great for the job she just happens to be a horse rather than a small pony and so is always overlooked.”

Scarlet came to Totem Horses via the RSPCA in 2012 after she and a number of other mares were found starving in a field. Although thin, Scarlet was in better condition than many of the others as she was the only mare who was not in foal.

Jo explains: “Scarlet was nervous when she came to us and had clearly had a difficult start in life. Although we were able to back her to be ridden and she proved willing and very bright, it became clear when she was rehomed briefly as a riding horse that it just wasn’t for her and she is much better as a companion providing company to other horses and ponies.

“She is a very sensitive horse but is good to catch, groom and load and well behaved with the farrier, but she does need quiet and confident handling as she has clearly been roughly treated in the past.”

Although a thoroughbred cross, Scarlet is fairly hardy, and happily lives out all year round, with rugs in the depths of winter. But she will also happily stable and enjoys her home comforts as needed. She tends to be fairly dominant and high up in the hierarchy, so she is a good animal to leave with youngsters as she will put them in their place.

Totem volunteer Lyddy Putt explains: “When people think companion pony, they think something small is cheap to keep and won’t require much hard feed. But actually, it makes very little difference. Most farriers charge the same to trim the feet of a Shetland as they do for a large horse and Scarlet is a very good doer so does well without hard feed unless the weather is extreme – in fact if anything we need to be careful to keep her weight down, so she doesn’t need a huge amount of grass either.”

Although generally in good health, Scarlet has been known to suffer from a foot condition called laminitis in the past, so this will need to be monitored by her adopter and her grazing may need to be restricted.

Totem Horses go out on a loan agreement and can always be returned to the charity if circumstances change. Totem will rehome equines anywhere in England and Wales subject to a satisfactory home check although priority is usually given to home in Powys, Shropshire and Cheshire or bordering counties for ease of post-rehoming visits.

Anyone interested in offering Scarlet a home is asked to email [email protected] or call or text 07899 831731 for more details.

Other horses looking for homes can be found at