In the space of three days our Head of Welfare visited 80 horses and ponies mainly due to calls from concerned public or animals known to be at risk. This involved travelling up to an hour away from the Centre to Kent and East Sussex. Due to the big freeze some of these herds had no water and one particular herd consisting of brood mares and youngstock had to wait three long days standing by their dry tanks before their torture ended. This was a traumatic time for us as our Field Officer that was keeping an eye on the herd, had to make frantic phone calls of worry before the news finally came that water had arrived.
Of the 80 horses visited between 32 to 35 were in foal, some due imminently. As if having to give birth in muddy, cold fields devoid of shelter and little food is not bad enough, the owners in some cases are living some distance away. The vast numbers of foals due this year to inferior stock is very worrying as many will be worthless due to lack of size, substance and food so we know what will become of them. What a pity that people who must breed don’t keep a few good mares that they can care for properly and produce valuable offspring.
Twelve of the horses had been left to their own devices in dangerous rugs with either no straps at all, straps trailing on the ground or tied up with baler twine. In most cases it’s better to have no rug at all than a dangerous or badly fitting one causing sores and pressure injuries. Maybe if those owners had been present when we had to euthanize a horse that had become caught up in its rug they might take more care. There is no excuse for lack of rug or using broken rugs; the Charity always has a large selection of second-hand rugs and we can bring them to your horse to try on. Also there are numerous businesses that do rug repairs.
Due to the huge rate of growth in horse culture resulting in large numbers being at risk and mostly owned by travellers, we are recruiting new volunteer Field Officers in all areas and have welcomed another ten recently. These are mainly dedicated horse owners who are frustrated and concerned with the lack of care provided to horses and ponies in their vicinity. If you wish to join our team give us a ring; very often you will find there are others in your area already ‘on the lookout’ so you can work together.
Don’t hesitate to call us if you know of cruelty or abuse: 01424 892381