The RSPCA today urges horse lovers to rehome from them as they rescued 163 horses in Wales last year due to the ongoing equine crisis.

As part of the animal welfare charity’s special rehoming drive Adoptober, new figures have been released showing that although 328 horses were found new homes last year across England and Wales, 886 remain in the charity’s specialist equine centres and private boarding stables.

Shelley rehoming Oct19 (before) Shelley rehoming Oct19 (after)In Wales, Monmouthshire (46) and Carmarthenshire (44) topped the table on the most numbers of equines rescued* last year. With many of these horses now looking for their forever homes.

Adoptober aims to showcase the RSPCA’s horses and ponies’ versatility and capability, whether they are ridden horses, companion animals or youngsters with heaps of potential.

There are currently many horses at Gonsal Farm in Shropshire – Wales’ nearest RSPCA equine centre – that are looking for forever homes.

Rebecca, a 11.2 hh, four-year-old, grey Welsh pony mare, is one of them. Rebecca now has a young colt called Rueben who was born at Gonsal Farm on 19 June 2019, who is also looking for a home.

Equine welfare operations manager Gareth Johnson said: “Rebecca came into our care as she was part of a large case where sadly owners of a large number of horses failed to meet their needs.

“Rebecca and Rueben can both be a little nervous with new people, but with time and patience will come round quite quickly. They would also be suited to someone who has experience with mares and foals. We really hope we can find their forever home as soon as possible.”

Sarah and Shelley are another two ponies who are looking for their second chance of happiness. They only were made available for rehoming last week. They came into the RSPCA’s care following a prosecution case in Monmouthshire earlier this month where the needs of a large number of horses were not met.

Gareth added: “These are two very nice, well handled ponies, that through some work and training could be a possible riding pony or family pony.

“When we first took them into our care they had not been looked after very well and have now been in our care since March. I am pleased to say they have returned to full health and we are now looking for that special owner to take care of them.”

Sarah and Shelley are currently at a private boarding stables but RSPCA Gonsal Farm can be contacted for any rehoming enquiries.

Dr Mark Kennedy, equine welfare specialist at the RSPCA said: “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.

“It’s 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 won’t be inadvertently funding irresponsible breeders and dealers but you’ll 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.”

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 the RSPCA struggling to cope.

The charity’s centres are full with hundreds of rescued horses and ponies are being cared for in private boarding stables or looked after by foster carers.

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 have 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 is 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 the RSPCA’s wonderful rescue horses can visit the charity’s rehoming pages.

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 donating at www.rspca.org.uk/donateadoptober, sponsoring a dog kennel or cat pod for just £1.50 a week, or showing your support for rescue pets with one of our RSPCA T-shirts. Find out how to support the work of your local RSPCA here.

Ends – Diwedd

Notes to Editors:

Pictures and rehoming case studies can be found here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/oQ3gWkFBAX

There are before and after pictures for Sarah and Shelley·

*The high numbers of rescued horses for Monmouthshire and Carmarthenshire are the result of a prosecution cases taken by the RSPCA.

A video about the RSPCA’s work with horses can be viewed here.