RSPCA – urgent #homesforhorses appeal launched

The RSPCA is launching an urgent appeal for homes for horses, ponies and donkeys as the number in the charity’s care exceeds 600.

England and Wales are in the grip of a horse crisis and it’s the animals who are paying the price.

In the last three years the RSPCA received 69,410 calls about horses in England alone.  Of these, 1,900 were about abandonments, showing that as the cost of keeping a horse increases, so do the numbers left to suffer or die.

The RSPCA is at capacity with the numbers of horses in its care and desperately need to find homes for them to free up space to take in more neglected and abused animals.  It is also estimated that 4,500 horses are still at risk across England.

Some of those horses that have suffered terribly and really need good new homes include April, a 14.1hh eight-year-old piebald mare (pictured above).  April was found in a terrible condition in West Sussex in March 2014.  She was emaciated and had lice and severe fur loss, with bald patches and scabs all over her body.

April has made a great recovery in the care of the RSPCA’s Lockwood Animal Centre and, after lots of loving care and attention has turned out to be a gentle, easy going horse who really needs a new home.

As of 19 March 2015 there were 640 equines in RSPCA care (rescued from England and Wales). The average boarding cost is £15 per day per horse.

New RSPCA figures show the crisis is continuing in England with the charity receiving thousands of calls in relation to equines:*

?       The number of complaints/calls the RSPCA has received in regards to equines remains high with 22,046 in 2014 – these were in relation to an astonishing 72,106 equines.

?       Complaints/calls about equines have slightly decreased since 2012, but the numbers of horses complained about has consistently remained well above 70,000.

?       1,506 horses were collected by the RSPCA in 2014 alone.

?       The main reasons for horses entering our care are starvation, untreated wounds and irresponsible ownership.

Abigail Moon, RSPCA rehoming operations manager, said:  “We have so many beautiful horses and ponies in our care who’ve had a bad start in life and really deserve the care of a great owner.  We have rehomed horses who have gone on to win at shows like Equifest, so it shows that you really can be a winner if you take on a rescue horse.

“There is such a variety available, whether you’re looking for a young or old horse, a companion or one who can be worked.  Many of our horses have suffered terribly so please do think about taking on a rescue horse and giving the the second chance they deserve.”

David Bowles, assistant director for public affairs at the RSPCA, said:  “As the Control of Horses Bill has just been made law, it is too early to know if it will help to reduce the numbers of abandonments across England but when the same legislation was passed in Wales last year we certainly saw more horses at risk over the border in England.

“We hope that the new law, that means that landowners can seize fly grazing horses earlier, will be an incentive to those irresponsible owners who don’t microchip their animals and leave them to suffer, knowing that they could previously get away with it.”

To apply to adopt a horse, pony or donkey please visit

Text HORSE to 70111 TO GIVE £3. Texts cost £3 + your standard network rate. RSPCA will receive 100% of your donation, excluding 02 customers, where £2.96 will be received. By using this service, you agree that we may contact you in the future, if you'd rather we didn't text OPTOUT to 70030. To discuss this donation, please call 0300 123 0346.

Notes to editors

?      There will horse rehoming open days at:

?       Gonsal Farm Equine Welfare and Rehabilitation Centre, Dorrington, Shrewsbury, between Friday 3 April and Monday 6 April from 11am to 3pm each day. You can just turn up or you can book an appointment by calling 07720 948 636.

?       Felledge Animal Centre, Chester Moor, Chester-le-Street, Co Durham between Friday 3 April and Monday 6 April.  Please book an appointment by calling 0300 123 0708.

?       Lockwood Centre for Horses and Donkeys, Wormley, Godalming, Surrey on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April.  Please visit or call 0300 123 0720.

?     Millbrook Animal Centre, Chobham, Surrey on Monday 6 April between 11.30am and 4pm.  Please visit on the day or call 0300 123 0740.

?       Southridge Animal Centre, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire between Friday 3 and Monday 6 April.  Please visit the centre between 11am and 4.15pm (1pm and 4.15pm on Sunday) or call 0300 123 0704.

?      Please follow @RSPCAofficial on Twitter and if you tweet this story please use #homesforhorses

?      Photographs and more case studies are available from the press office – please call 0300 123 0244/0288 or email