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 across England and Wales last year and has 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 Norfolk, the charity received 555 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 Royal, George and Lily.

Case studies – horses looking for new homes:


Name:  Lilly

Age: Four

Breed: New Forest cross breed

Height: 13.3 hh (approx)

Where: RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire

A bit about: Lilly 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 four 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 an owner who is experienced in handling young horses and has the time to continue her education.

More information: Check out Find a Pet.


Name: George

Age: Three

Breed: Bay Welsh Pony

Where: Private boarding stables in Essex

Height: He should make around 12-13hh when fully mature.

A bit about: George is a stunning bright bay Welsh pony who has lovely movement, he has been in a foster home for some time and has really excelled, he is good to groom lead and tie up and stands well for both the vet and farrier, once he has a bond and trusts his handler he is very keen to please. A real sweetie! George has been castrated and is up to date with worming and has been passported, micro chipped and is also vaccinated against Tetanus.

Why he’s special: George will still need some encouraging as he explores new situations and will need an experienced home to bring him onto his full potential.

Ideal home: George has met young children and was very gentle and soft with them – but as new things can worry him will need an experienced home. He relies on a strong bond with his handler and once he knows you he is very loyal!

More information: To find out more about George please visit his page on the RSPCA website on Find A Pet.

Name: Royal

Age: Three

Breed: Black Middleweight Cob

Where: Private boarding stables in Essex

Height: He should mature at around 13hh

A bit about: Gentle soul Royal is a gorgeous boy who is just looking for a home to call his own.

Why he’s special: Royal is a gorgeous cob gelding who was born in 2016 and has been in a foster home for some time and he has really come on both with his handling and his personality.

Ideal home: Royal has such a kind and gentle nature, he could  make an excellent childs pony for the future. He has met dogs and children and gets on with both! Royal is good to lead, groom and tie up and he stands well for both the vet and the farrier. He has been castrated and is up to date with worming and has been passported, micro chipped and is also vaccinated against Tetanus.

More information: To find out more about Royal please visit his page on the RSPCA website on Find A Pet.

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.

Many horses and ponies rescued and rehomed by the RSPCA 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 in Norfolk.*

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.