Equine charities have revealed that the number of horses, donkeys and ponies finding new homes is on the rise — with the RSPCA stating that last year was the most successful rehoming year yet.

A new report released by the charity showed an increase of 16% on 2013, with 378 horses being rehomed in 2014.

Last year alone, the RSPCA received calls about abandoned, neglected or mistreated horses, ponies and donkeys, involving an astonishing 82,886 animals.

The RSPCA currently has more than 800 horses in its care, and aims to bring this number down to fewer than 500 during 2015 through rehoming programmes.

RSPCA chief inspector Cathy Hyde said: “Seeing animals find a loving, forever home after experiencing suffering or neglect is a highlight of the job. While we still have a huge number of equines still in our care, and are continuously responding to further calls and rescuing more, it’s still a great achievement for us to see any one animal find a new home.”

Economy picking up

Last year was World Horse Welfare’s most successful year for rehoming in a decade.

“We are encouraged by the public’s greater interest in rehoming,” said the charity’s Tony Tyler.

“There are many reasons why we had the best performance in a decade last year — the economy is picking up, and we have worked hard to promote the variety and quality of our horses and ponies as well as the genuine advantages of rehoming over buying or breeding.

“We have also worked with other charities to raise awareness of the horse crisis and the resulting pressures that charities are under, and how the public can help by rehoming a horse to make space at charity centres for others in need.”

The charity also reviewed its rehoming scheme to make it more straightforward for people to apply. This includes the introduction of categories of horse such as “Project Horse or Pony”, which allows them to find experienced homes for their horses more quickly so they can continue their education with a rehomer.

However, while this year is so far looking positive, it’s likely that the numbers will not be as high as 2014.

“Three out of four of our rescue and rehoming centres are currently overstocked so we’d urge anyone interested in rehoming a horse to take a look at our website for more information,” added a spokesman.

It was a similar situation for the Blue Cross, which also recorded a 16% increase from 2013 to 2014.

“We have been able to do this by adapting our rehoming process to enable us to rehome horses at any stage of training providing the right match is found,” said Laura Pearce, rehoming coordinator at the charity.

“Development in this way has been crucial in allowing us to help more horses year on year in reaction to the horse welfare crisis. This year we hope to help more than 200 horses by working closely with other charities and developing further initiatives, which allow us to maximise the number of horses helped with the limited resources we have.”

Redwings told H&H it wasn’t the same story for the charity last year, as they were going through a merger with the Mountains Animal Sanctuary in Scotland and conducting a review of the process.

However, the charity still rehomed 60 horses and is looking to expand the rehoming programme this year.

“We hope to begin rehoming from our centre in Warwickshire later this year and we will be rehoming from Mountains in the not too distant future too, watch this space,” said a Redwings spokesman.

Ref: H&H 11 June, 2015