More than one third of horse owners have purchased an unsuitable horse, according to a recent survey by animal welfare charity, The Blue Cross.
The charity’s research also discovered that nearly half of those who subsequently sold on a problem horse had not sought any help in remedying the situation but 75% of people who did seek help found it “successful” in solving their problems.
Half of the 1,000 owners surveyed had either given up or sold on horses at some point in the past. In most cases this was because they had outgrown the horse (37%) or needed something more advanced (10%). Financial reasons were responsible for six per cent of sales.
However, 31% cited “behavioural issues” as the reason for the sale, while lack of compatibility between horse and rider and problems while being ridden accounted for nearly 10% of responses.
Kerstin Alford, director of equine welfare at The Blue Cross says: “This survey confirms what we are seeing at our equine centres – an alarming number of people making poor choices when buying a horse. Many people then make things worse by not facing up to the problems. It is often only at this point that we are asked to help.
“The Blue Cross would much rather advise horse owners from the start about the suitability of a horse or pony and help remedy any solvable problems, rather than taking in a horse that owners have found they can no longer cope with.”
During the past decade the Blue Cross has noticed increasing numbers of horses being admitted to its equine welfare centres on behavioural grounds. During 1991 more than half of horses were signed over to the charity because of their owners financial or personal problems.
Ten years later, almost all of the horses admitted to the charity were because of behavioural problems, which owners felt unable to overcome without support. In a significant number of cases these were the result of unsuitable match between horse and owner.
In response the charity has developed free educational leaflets to help owners choose the right horse in the first instance, thereby avoiding subsequent difficulties and associated behavioural problems.
To contact The Blue Cross for advice (tel: 01993 822454) or visit: www.allaboutpets.org.uk to download any of the charity’s 19 equine advisory leaflets, including advice on buying the ideal horse for your needs.