The RSPCA is warning owners to be aware this winter, as welfare calls are on the rise.

The charity has received more than 25,000 welfare calls this year, from which concerns have been raised about the health and wellbeing of more than 72,000 horses.

This is higher than last year and there are fears that with bad weather this winter, it might get worse.

“Last year for the first time in decades the numbers of people prosecuted for horse offences was above those for cat offences, showing the depth of the problem,” an RSPCA spokesman told H&H.

Since the start of the year, the RSPCA has received 25,159 calls about 72,832 horses.

In 2014 there were 22,046 calls about 72,106 horses.

“We are still seeing the effects of the horse crisis, which has been going on for several years now,” said the RSPCA’s Cathy Hyde.

“We are rescuing abandoned and neglected horses every week.”

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However, rehoming numbers remain high — in 2014 the RSPCA rehomed 378 horses, and so far this year it has already rehomed 377.

“Although this is good news the RSPCA is still stretched with more than 500 horses currently in our care, but only 124 places at the equine centres,” added a spokesman.

Last month, H&H reported that World Horse Welfare had recorded that record-breaking number of horses have found a new home in the past two months.

The organisation’s “rehome a horse month” in September helped 44 horses find somewhere new to live. In October, a further 41 were rehomed — doubling the average number of around 23 rehomed each month throughout the rest of 2015.