The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has launched a campaign to find homes for a record number of abused, neglected and abandoned horses and ponies.

Charities, according to the RSPCA, are in the grip of an equine crisis as falling prices over the past five years have led to thousands of horses being neglected, dumped and, in some cases, left starving to death.

Alarming RSPCA figures from the past five years show:

  • the number of neglected horses rescued by RSPCA inspectors has almost tripled
  • for every horse in an RSPCA centre there are seven waiting for a place
  • RSPCA convictions relating to equines have more than doubled – bucking the national trend of a reduction in animal welfare convictions
  • while its rehoming rate has doubled, the RSPCA still had 900 neglected, abused and abandoned horses in its care
RSPCA chief inspector Cathy Hyde, who heads a specialist team of equine officers, said: “Over the past five years there has been a marked and very worrying increase in equine neglect and abuse.”

“This is witnessed on a daily basis by frontline staff.

“In 2009 we were removing, on average, two horses a day. What is most shocking is that we are now removing, on average, five horses a day.”

She added that inspectors are seeing more large groups of horses that aren’t being given the very basics – food and water.

“I remember a major issue in Wales in 2013, where we dealt with a group of 300 sick and neglected horses and ponies,” said Ms Hyde.

“It was horrendous, something I will not easily forget, and I fear we will have to deal with something similar again in the future.”

The Homes for Horses campaign is being launched to find loving homes for hundreds of RSPCA rescue horses and ponies.

Abigail Moon, RSPCA’s rehoming operations manager, said: “Even though we are rehoming record numbers of horses and ponies we are rescuing more and more each day and still have hundreds looking for fantastic new owners.

“We have Shetlands to Shire horses, leggy foals to bombproof schoolmasters, dependable cobs to showy Arabs and everything in between.

“We really need the horse community to help us tackle the equine crisis and find homes for horses.”

A series of open days is being held at RSPCA centres to showcase their rescue horses and ponies. To find out more about rehoming visit

To support the RSPCA campaign, text HORSE to 70111 to give £3.

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