World Horse Welfare aims to “shine a spotlight” on the world’s “invisible horses” in a new campaign launched today (Thursday, 21 January).

In the first part of the campaign “Bring invisible horses into focus”, World Horse Welfare is calling for the public to be vigilant for dumped or abandoned foals and youngsters.

The first quarter of the year typically brings a rise in the numbers of foals and youngsters abandoned and left to fend for themselves, and the welfare organisation is urging people to report them to enable charities to intervene.

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“The winter months can be a difficult time of year for any horse with harsh weather conditions, sparse grazing and a lack of shelter available from trees and hedgerows, but combine this with a young age and it’s clear why so many abandoned youngsters are found in a terrible condition,” said Tony Tyler of the charity.

“Welfare charities such as World Horse Welfare are on hand to investigate and address welfare concerns, but we need the public to keep their eyes open for foals, youngsters or adult horses in trouble and report it to us with as much information as possible.

“If you spot a horse and you are concerned about its welfare, there are a number of things to check and note down so that you can give the relevant details when making a call.

“You will need to have seen the horses personally and be able to provide details of the problems, a full description of the horse or horses and accurate location information. If you are able to take photos or a video without endangering yourself or the horse then this is would be helpful to our team in assessing theyourself or the horse then this is would be helpful to our team in assessing the concern.”

The year-long campaign will highlight the plight of horses throughout the world, from those left in barns and stables for weeks on end, to those working many hours every day on the streets of Choluteca in Honduras or Cape Town in South Africa who go unnoticed by governments and policymakers, to the horses transported long distances across borders to uncertain futures.

The charity will be focusing on a number of key themes as the year progresses, including: foals and youngsters, rescue and re-homing, working horses around the world, and campaigning to improve laws to protect horses.

> If you are concerned about a horse you can call World Horse Welfare’s Welfare Line on 08000 480 180.