More than 130 unhandled horses, including pregnant mares and some with health problems, removed from a site by the M25 have been transformed and are starting their new lives.
Last year a concerned member of the public contacted World Horse Welfare about the group, and field officer Becky Benson attended the site. She found the horses and other animals in need of help as their owners were no longer able to cope. With the assistance of field officer Chris Shaw, Becky worked to gain the owners’ cooperation and coordinated a multi-agency operation to remove the horses from the property over several months.
Owing to the large number of animals involved, the rescue was a joint operation by National Equine Welfare Council members including the British Horse Society, Blue Cross, Bransby Horses, Essex Horse & Pony Protection Society, HAPPA, the Horse Trust, Redwings, the RSPCA, the Donkey Sanctuary and Thornberry Animal Sanctuary.
Of the 32 taken in by World Horse Welfare, 11 went to the charity’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre, Somerset, and 21 to Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre, Norfolk.
“The majority of these horses were completely unhandled and very nervous, and many had numerous health problems. Many of the mares were pregnant, which will further add to the numbers of animals needing to be looked after when their foals are born,” said the spokesman.
“Two of the 32 were Clio and Astra, a pair of unhandled yearling fillies who came to Hall Farm. When they arrived both ponies were underweight, suffering from worms and very scared of people but their grooms worked tirelessly to gain their trust and the pair have been completely transformed from the timid scraps they arrived as.”
Becky said it was “heartbreaking” to see how nervous some of the horses were at first.
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A study, run by the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) and the Association of Dogs and Cat Homes, assessed the
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“They clearly hadn’t been handled at all and were so scared of humans,” she said.
“Clio and Astra’s transformations are a testament to the dedication and endless patience of their grooms – to see such frightened yearlings blossom into friendly young ponies is just incredible. A call to our welfare line really can transform horses’ lives.”
The spokesman added that staff at the centres had worked extremely hard to gain the horses’ trust and progress their rehabilitation resulting in many of the group, including Clio and Astra, successfully being rehomed as youngsters and companions.
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