Adoptober: Equine crisis sees us rescue 90 horses a month

Adoptober: Equine crisis sees us rescue 90 horses a month

Adoptober horse week © RSPCA

We rescued 1,071 horses from neglect and suffering last year and have hundreds in our care looking for loving homes.

Today we're urging horse lovers to rehome from us, as the number of horses we rescued reaches almost 90 a month in 2018 - a result of the ongoing horse crisis.

How we can tackle the horse crisis

As part of our special rehoming drive Adoptober, new figures have been released showing that, although more than 320 horses found new homes last year, 886 currently remain in our specialist equine centres and private boarding stables.

Dr Mark Kennedy, our equine welfare specialist, said:

We've 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.

It's heartbreaking that we had to rescue more than 1,000 horses 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 won't be inadvertently funding irresponsible breeders and dealers but you'll be freeing up space in our specialist centres for another needy horse, helping us as we work to rehome the hundreds currently living in private boarding stables.

Keeping horses in our care costs a lot

Over-breeding, the high costs of vet bills, the rising cost of hay and feed and falling demand for some types of horses have all contributed to the horse crisis which has left charities like us struggling to cope.

We have three specialist equine centres - Lockwood in Surrey, Gonsal Farm in Shropshire and Felledge in County Durham. We also have equine rehoming facilities at Millbrook in Surrey, Southridge in Hertfordshire and Leybourne in Kent.

We rehomed 328 horses and ponies last year, resulting in centres being full with hundreds of rescued horses and ponies, and many more are being cared for in private boarding stables or looked after by foster carers.

Showcasing some of the beautiful equines in our care

Adoptober aims to showcase our horses and ponies' versatility and capability, whether they're ridden horses, companion animals or youngsters with lots of potential like Lilly and Hope.

Lilly's bio

Lilly the horse © RSPCA

Name:  Lilly

Age: Four

Breed: New Forest crossbreed 

Height: 13.3 hh (approx)

Where: RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire

A bit about: She's full of character,  very cheeky and incredibly intelligent. She picks up new things very quickly, including how to open gates!  She's a bit of a show-off and loves to strut her stuff in the field showing off her very flashy trot. She also likes to think she's a racehorse when she races our tractor up and down the field.

Why she's special: Lilly came to us emaciated, starving and fighting for her life. It took her a long time to come round but she has now made a full recovery. She's very people orientated and loves to be groomed. She has only very lightly begun to do some work in hand as she's only four years old.

She also has a few medical issues which may affect her ability to be ridden however we're still investigating this. These issues won't stop her potential to be a lovely companion pony or low level in-hand showing pony.

Ideal home: Lilly will need to be rehomed as a companion pony only or as an in-hand show pony. She'll need gentle handling with an experienced owner to continue her training with a bridle.  We're looking for a small capable adult who is experienced in handling young horses and has the time to continue her education.

Check out Lilly's full profile on Find a Pet

Hope's bio

Hope the horse © RSPCA

Name: Hope

Age: Five

Breed: Thoroughbred crossbreed

Where: RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire

Height: 15 hh (approx)

A bit about: At five years old Hope, a bay, is proving to be a very loving girl, she does, however, have a huge amount still to learn and will need someone very caring and experienced to teach her. Hope has learnt to wear a bridle and be lead in-hand during her stay with us. Hope can be a little nervous when being groomed, but has gained confidence, and has made an improvement whilst being with us.

Why she's special: Hope was found in a collapsed state as a young foal, within hours of death. She was infested with worms, covered in lice and had diarrhoea. She has made an amazing recovery and is now finally ready to start looking for a new home.

Ideal home: Hope will need a very experienced home which has dealt with youngsters before. She's very good around the mares she's turned out and will be homed as a companion pony only due to her previous history.

Check out Hope's full profile on Find a Pet

You'll be surprised how rewarding our horses can be

Mark added:

Many people know how rewarding rescuing a dog or cat can be, and what a fantastic range of animals come into our care looking for new homes, and we really hope horse people will see that it's the same for horses - we have some excellent horses and ponies just waiting for a chance in a new home.

I have rescue horses myself and know how satisfying it is working with them and bringing out their full potential. In particular, mine has been very responsive to clicker training and it has helped bring out their playful and intelligent nature. Seeing horses who have had a bad start in life developing into fantastic companions or successful riding and competition horses are incredibly rewarding, made even better by knowing you are helping other needy horses by freeing up spaces for them in welfare charity care.

Anyone in a position to offer a home to one of our wonderful rescue horses can visit our rehoming pages.

Many horses and ponies rescued and rehomed by us have gone on to become pleasure horses, companions, competition horses and more, and most recently a number of horses found new homes through the British Horse Society's 'Changing Lives Through Horses' project.

There are many ways to support the animals in our care

If you're not in a position to give a pet a home this October, you can still help thousands of animals in our care by:

You can also find out how to support the work we do in your local area.