A “growing horse crisis” has led the RSPCA to launch an emergency appeal for foster carers who can give a temporary home to some of the 270 youngsters in the charity’s care.
The RSPCA has launched an emergency appeal to find foster homes for hundreds of young horses as the number in its care has doubled in the past year.
The charity is currently looking after 600 ponies and horses that have suffered neglect and cruelty – twice the number in its care in April 2011.
However, almost half of them are youngsters – which is why the RSPCA has launched the Stable Future appeal to find temporary foster carers for some of the 270 horses that are too young to be ridden.
Sally Learoyd, the charity’s equine rehoming officer, said: “Over the past year we’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of horses being disowned or allowed to get into an appalling state because the trade in horses has collapsed.”
The charity blames the recession, rising hay costs and irresponsible breeding for the rising number of horses being neglected and abandoned.
However, although the RSPCA has found new homes for a record number of horses over the past year, it cannot keep up with the record influx of animals. The charity faces a £3.2 million bill just to care for the influx of ponies and horses (not including vet bills or prosecution costs).
So, to help ease the crisis, the charity is searching for foster carers to give a temporary home to youngsters until they are old enough to be prepared for work or rehomed.
Sally said: “We have a never ending tide of young horses coming into our centres. Fostering our youngsters is a way that horse lovers can help us with this problem.
She explained: “Fostering is a great way for people to have the enjoyment of being around youngsters while helping us out in the short-term.
“Just like teenagers, these young horses need experience of life, a day to day routine and a guiding hand. Being a fosterer is a really rewarding experience. You can see these youngsters’ personalities change and develop as they grow.”
The youngsters available for fostering are aged between one and three and are all happy, healthy and handleable. All horses are microchipped and will have passports and tetanus vaccinations.
Foster carers must have experience handling horses, grazing and be able to take in a youngster for a minimum of six months.
- To apply log onto www.rspca.org.uk/stablefuture or call 0300 123 8000 for an application form.
- Animal lovers who cannot take on a foster horse can help by donating spare tack, rugs and equipment, or by making a donation to the charity’s equine centres.
All images courtesy RSPCA