We have helped rescue more than 60 animals from flooding in just five days.

RSPCA and WHW rescue horse from Colnbrook field © WHW

In the most recent rescue, members of our water rescue team and a field officer from World Horse Welfare (WHW), the largest rescue and rehoming horse charity in the UK, saved two foals and seven horses from a flooded field.

Two foals, a miniature Shetland pony and six horses were trapped in a waterlogged field in Colnbrook, Berkshire, after a river nearby burst its bank.

The water in their field continued to rise until they were only left with a small boggy patch to stand on.

Their worried owner worked with us and WHW to rescue the horses and the foals, which were particularly at risk.

The foals could not get warm

World Horse Welfare field officer, Nick White says:

“The river at the bottom of the field had burst its banks and the water had spread over the field these horses were being kept in – right up to the gateway.


“All of the horses were wet and cold, particularly the thoroughbred types with thinner coats. We were most concerned for two of the foals which were also very wet and cold – their coats had become waterlogged and the foals were shivering and could not get warm.


“We had to quickly assess the situation prior to catching the horses and work out the safest way to remove them and load them on to a transporter on a very busy, fast and noisy main road.


“With more heavy rain and cold weather forecast we were all immensely relieved to get the horses to safety. It was great working with the RSPCA flood team who were professional, safety conscious and caring towards the horses.”

The six-strong team waded through water to catch some of the horses and then led them to safety. The horses are currently in our care while the owner finds them a safer field.

Inspectors have been working tirelessly

Over a five day period our water rescue team has rescued 69 animals and local inspectors have been working tirelessly, helping owners of livestock and horses to move their animals before they get trapped.

  • Friday January 3 – 44 cattle, three horses and six dogs saved from a farm in Langport, Somerset
  • Saturday, January 4 – seven horses rescued from flood water in Christchurch, Dorset
  • Tuesday January 7 – nine horses rescued in Colnbrook, Berkshire the help of World Horse Welfare

Jason Finch, RSPCA Flood response coordinator, said:

“Over the past few days we have rescued almost 70 cattle, horses and dogs from flood water and are monitoring many more at risk.


“We have never rescued so many animals is such a short period due to flooding.”

We and World Horse Welfare are advising horse owners who are experiencing the current bad weather to move their animals to higher ground if possible and to put down sand or straw so that they have a dry place to lie down. As a last resort, owners may need to consider moving their horses into livery or ask if they can move them into a neighbour’s field.

Where people are concerned about horses owned by others we ask that you monitor the situation to see if the horse is in a waterlogged field temporarily, which is of less concern than deep or flowing water. If the situation persists or the horse is in distress the public can call World Horse Welfare’s UK Welfare Line on 0800 0480 180 or our 24-hour helpline on 0300 1234 999.

For more advice read our flood help and advice page.

We can’t do it without you

Our inspectors can only keep helping animals with your support. Please donate online or text HELP to 78866 to give £3. Text cost £3 plus one standard network rate message.