Charity overwhelmed by owners giving up horses needs vital cash to continue

A long-established welfare charity could face closure if it does not raise vital funds – as daily phone calls pour in from owners looking to give up their horses.

The Essex Horse & Pony Protection Society (EHPPS), a registered charity established in 1987, is full and needs to raise £11,000 to meet running costs.

Sanctuary manager Leigh Perry told H&H the charity has 53 horses and ponies at its 55-acre Basildon site, with 200 out on guardianship loans, whereby they are still owned by EHPPS.

“Last year we took in 34 horses and ponies, and we aim to only ever have 40 on site at any one time,” said Leigh.

“The problem is we are taking daily phone calls and emails from people looking rehome and give up their horses – this year seems to be the worst for it. I don’t know if it’s been the miserable weather or the time of year, but it really shocks me.”

Leigh said the sanctuary’s focus is to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome horses and ponies but added that some are unsuitable for rehoming.

“Ultimately we’re a welfare charity for horses in need,” she said. “If we’re able to help at a time when someone phones and they’re in dire need then we will try, but we’re not a retirement home or somewhere for people to dump their horses if they run out of money – we don’t have the space.

“We understand and appreciate people have problems, but we can only accommodate what we can accommodate and every day we’re being asked. All the other charities are the same. ”

Leigh said although it is full, the charity will continue to attend emergencies, but that she is concerned about the number of people looking to give up their horses.

“If there is a collapsed horse somewhere we will go out and help because that’s what we’re there for,” she said.

“In the area there are more and more houses being built, and livery yards are closing so we are concerned more people will look to rehome their horses.”

EHHPS is aiming to raise £11,000 through its ‘pledge a pony a pound’ Facebook appeal.

“We have around 11,000 followers on Facebook so if everyone could donate £1 it would make a huge difference, or even 50p. People sometimes say ‘it’s only a pound’ but it all really does add up,” said Leigh.

“We usually do fundraising such as tack sales but this can’t begin until the summer when the horses and ponies are out of the stables, and the ground is drier.”

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Leigh said the charity has raised a quarter of its target so far, but if the funds are not secured, the future of the charity would need to be discussed by the trustees.

“We have such a good band of supporters who have been sharing our appeal on Facebook. The money will go towards vet bills, daily running costs, hay and feed bills,” she said.

“The monthly running costs are £16,000 so fundraising is important. We are waiting on a legacy being gifted through probate but these things can take time so we need to do everything we can now.”

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