RSPCA seeks new homes for abandoned horses after some are found dead and dumped like rubbish
The RSPCA is seeking new homes for abandoned horses after some were found dead and dumped like rubbish.
Adoptober, the animal welfare charity's rehoming drive, revealed 886 horses still remain in its specialist equine centres and stables.
The appeal comes after the RSPCA struggled to cope with the large numbers of horses it rescues that are often found sick, injured and dying.
New figures reveal 328 horses were found new homes last year.
"We have been dealing with the effects of the horse crisis for almost seven years now, seeing sick, dying or dead horses up and down the country being neglected or dumped like rubbish," said Dr Mark Kennedy, equine welfare specialist at the RSPCA.
"It is heartbreaking that we had to rescue more than 1,000 horses nationally last year. We and other charities are struggling to cope with the large numbers continually coming into our care.
"We need help from fellow horse lovers. Please, please, please consider adopting your next horse from a charity instead of buying.
"Not only does it mean you will not be inadvertently funding irresponsible breeders and dealers but you will be freeing up a space in our specialist centres for another needy horse, helping us as we work to rehome the hundreds currently living in private boarding stables," he said.
The high costs of vet bills, over-breeding, and the rising cost of hay and feed have all contributed to the horse crisis, which has left charities like the RSPCA struggling to cope.
Adoptober aims to showcase the RSPCA's equine versatility and capability.
This includes ridden horses, companion animals or youngsters with lots of potential like pony Zak (pictured).
Zak, a nine-year-old Appaloosa, was found abandoned in Nottinghamshire and is one of the horses up for adoption.
Dr Kennedy said people know how rewarding rescuing a dog or cat can be and hopes people will see it is the same for horses.
He said: "I have rescue horses myself and know how satisfying it is working with them and bringing out their full potential.
"Seeing horses who have had a bad start in life develop into fantastic companions or successful riding and competition horses is incredibly rewarding, made even better by knowing you are helping other needy horses by freeing up spaces in welfare charity care."
The RSPCA has three specialist equine centres at Lockwood in Surrey, Gonsal Farm in Shropshire and Felledge in County Durham.
It has equine rehoming facilities at Millbrook in Surrey, Southridge in Hertfordshire and Leybourne in Kent.
Anyone in a position to offer a home to one of the RSPCA’s rescue horses can visit the charity’s rehoming pages here.
More by this authorAbigail Hunt