The RSPCA today urged horse lovers to rehome from them as they rescued almost 90 horses a month last year due to the ongoing horse crisis.

The charity rescued 1,071 horses from neglect and suffering last year and across the country there are hundreds looking for loving homes.


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, 886 remain in the charity’s specialist equine centres and private boarding stables.

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 (pictured right.)


“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.

In Hertfordshire, the charity received 530 reports of incidents involving horses last year.

The RSPCA has three specialist equine centres – Lockwood in Surrey, Gonsal Farm in Shropshire and Felledge in County Durham, and equine rehoming facilities at Millbrook in Surrey, Southridge in Hertfordshire and Leybourne in Kent.

The charity rehomed 328 horses and ponies last year.

The charity’s centres are 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.

Adoptober aims to showcase the RSPCA’s horses and ponies’ versatility and capability, whether they are ridden horses, companion animals or youngsters with lots of potential like Lilly, Hope, Bella and Chile.

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”.


Case studies – horses looking for new homes


Name:  Lilly

Age: 4

Breed: New Forest cross breed

Height: 13.3 hh (approx)

Where: RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire

A bit about: She is full of character,  very cheeky and incredibly intelligent. She picks up new things very quickly including how to open gates!  She is 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 is race horse when she races our tractor up and down the field.

Why she’s special: Lilly came to the RSPCA 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 is very people orientated and loves to be groomed.

She has only very lightly begun to do some work in hand as she is only just 4 years old.  She also has a few medical issues which may affect her ability to be ridden however we are still investigating this. These issues wont 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 inhand show pony. She will need gentle handling with an experienced owner to continue her training with a bridle.  We are looking for a capable adult who is experienced in handling young horses and has the time to continue her education.

More information: Check out Find a Pet at

Name: Hope

Age: 5

Breed: Thoroughbred crossbreed 

Where: RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire

Height: 15 hh (approx)

A bit about: At 5 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.

She can be a little nervous when being groomed, but has gained confidence, and has improved whilst being at the centre.

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

More information:  Please check out Find a Pet.



Name: Chile

Age: 2

Breed: Piebald Cob

Where: RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire

Height: 12hh (still growing)

A bit about: Chile is a really lovely girl who is already getting a small fan base at the centre because of her charm and amazing personality. She is very young so the world is still a scary place for her but she is taking everything in her stride. She is a very brave girl and already picks up both front feet like a pro! (Back feet are still a work in progress) she is very good to lead and has already charmed the centre’s vet with her manners and calm attitude.

Why she’s special: She was originally found abandoned with a large infected wound  Happily that has now healed and there is just some scarring left over that hopefully will shrink with time.

Ideal home: Chile is looking for a home experienced with young horses who will continue her training and eventually teach her to be ridden.

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, 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.