The British Horse Society (BHS) has set up a new network of volunteers to assist horse owners struggling with the difficult decision of whether to put their animal to sleep.

Lee Hackett of the BHS’s welfare department said the charity regularly receives calls about “old, much loved horses” whose owners seem unable to take the plunge and have them euthanased.

Owners put off the moment for many reasons, he said, and it can be even more difficult if the horse is not old but has a chronic injury or behavioural issues.

He said: “More and more people simply cannot afford to have field ornaments, yet often the horse is not suitable to be sold on. Some people assume a charity will be able to take the horse on, but this is hardly ever the case.”

So the BHS has trained 100 of its network of welfare officers around the country to act as advisors to support owners who are considering euthanasia.

The decision is in part a response to the increased numbers of neglected or abandoned horses referred to charities.

British charities simply do not have the room to take in any more horses.

All the “Friends at the End” have undergone training with bereavement counsellors as well as in horse welfare.

And they can even be there for your horse’s final moments and hold him, if you feel you can’t.

For more information, contact the BHS welfare team on 02476 840517 or email friendsattheend@bhs.org.uk