Horse charities are reporting “record numbers” of attempts to rescue horses from flooded fields this winter.

While 18 horses were rescued by the RSPCA in Christchurch, Dorset (6 February), welfare charities HorseWorld and World Horse Welfare combined forces to save another 4 at a separate location in the same area on the same day.

HorseWorld's Jerry Watkins and World Horse Welfare's Phil Jones attended the rescue

HorseWorld’s Jerry Watkins and World Horse Welfare’s Phil Jones attended the rescue, which was the 4th attempt to round up the horses

The quartet of feral horses had swum on to neighbouring land to avoid rising floodwater — but unfortunately had no permission to graze there.

HorseWorld had already visited this site 3 times in an attempt to rescue the horses, but were unable to catch them. The charity had left hay and — along with the owner and World Horse Welfare — had monitored the situation.

On the 4th attempt, the 2 charities managed to round up the horses and secure them on dry land in a holding pen. After examination, they were transported to a World Horse Welfare rescue and rehoming centre, where they will remain safe and dry until it is safe for them to return home.

Setting up a pen to catch the horses

Setting up a pen to catch the horses

HorseWorld’s director of national welfare Jerry Watkins said that this has been “one of our busiest winters assisting rescues”.

“We are working very closely with other equine charities to help a record number of horses during this period of extremely bad weather,” he said.