Cost of living concerns as welfare charity reports ‘steep’ rise in calls from worried owners

  • Concerns have been raised about owners struggling to afford the upkeep of their horses as a welfare charity reports a “steep increase” in calls.

    Bransby Horses said it had received the same number of calls in the first three months of this year as it did in the whole of 2021.

    “Last year we received 108 calls from members of the public looking for advice on what to do if they could no longer keep their horse and we received 22 direct requests to take ownership of their equine,” said a Bransby spokesman.

    “So far this year, we have already received 25 direct requests to take ownership of horses from private homes. Half of them stated this was due to financial reasons.”

    The increase in the cost of living has been widely reported as fuel prices reached a record high, the new energy price cap came into force on 1 April, and an increase to national insurance was announced.

    “We are concerned as a sector that the current financial situation, that is the rise in living costs, is having an impact on many horse owners,” said Bransby welfare manager Rachel Jenkinson.

    “During the pandemic there was a huge increase in demand for horses and ponies, so we are aware there are more privately owned horses in homes. Now we suspect the value of a horse may decline as the costs to keep them increase.”

    The charity has urged any owner who is concerned about their horse or is struggling financially to get in touch so it can help “before it becomes a problem”.

    “Although we may not be able to assist with taking over ownership, we can offer advice and support to ensure the best outcome for everyone,” said the spokesman.

    According to the Institute for Government’s most recent research on “the cost of living crisis”, a combination of high inflation outstripping wage increases and upcoming tax increases are squeezing incomes for many households. The study goes on to say the crisis will “probably worsen” as tax increases come in.

    Bransby has issued tips for owners, including “buddying up” with other owners to share morning and evening checks to save on fuel costs, buying second-hand rugs, and having a contingency plan for unexpected costs. The charity added that owners should be prepared for routine bills such as farrier, feed and livery to go up as costs of fuel are passed on.

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