A group of 19 abandoned Shire horses abandoned to face a “bleak” winter are now facing a brighter future thanks to a major rescue operation.
Last Friday, (10 November) Redwings Horse Sanctuary, the Blue Cross, Bransby Horses, HorseWorld, World Horse Welfare and the RSPCA joined forces to round up the group, which included four mares with foals at foot.
The owner of the land, in Bewdley, Worcestershire, had called Redwings to report the fly-grazing. Notices were issued under the Control of Horses Act and as the horses remained unclaimed, the charities stepped in.
A Redwings spokesman said: “Following a visit and assessment of the horses by our senior field officer Julie Harding, concerns were also raised for the welfare of the horses with the onset of winter and in light of the youngsters and foals being completely unhandled.
“During the 15-hour rescue operation, all 19 horses were successfully removed.”
Redwings has given homes to four mares, two of which had foals, four horses have been taken in by the RSPCA, three by HorseWorld and two each by the other three charities.
Redwings head of welfare and behaviour Nic de Brauwere said: “It is safe to say that had we not intervened, the welfare of this group would have been at great risk, especially with the approaching winter.
“No provision had been made by the former owner for their ongoing care, nor had the youngsters received any type of handling, owing to a complete lack of basic care.
“This round-up is an example of both the effectiveness of the Control of Horses Act and of successful partnership working among the welfare charities to secure the future of a group of horses, the outlook for whom would otherwise have been extremely concerning”.
Ms Harding added: “I cannot comprehend why such a low value was placed on these beautiful animals to fly-graze them in the first place and then not to come forward to claim them; it really saddens me.
“Thankfully, with our colleagues at our fellow welfare charities, we were able to offer these mares and foals a home where they’ll be treasured.”
HorseWorld’s Sarah Hollister said the charity had offered a home to an older mare.
“She will spend her golden years here at HorseWorld, with all the care she deserves,” she said, adding that the charity has also taken in two youngsters “who now have a bright future ahead of them”.
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Blue Cross horse manager Vicki Alford said the rescue is a “great example” of the way welfare charities work together.
“These horses were likely to have suffered a very bleak winter without our intervention and we are so pleased to have been able to offer safe sanctuary for two of the horses,” she added. “Both are doing well.”
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