Equine welfare charities have strongly criticised a mailshot sent out by Horsemart, which advertises cheap horses as a suitable Christmas present.
Livery yard manager Ashleigh Hill contacted H&H after receiving the email from the website, with the headline: “A horse for Christmas, why not?”
It lists three horses for sale under £500 “for those daughters who are constantly begging for a horse”. Ms Hill told H&H she was “shocked”.
“The RSPCA says a dog isn’t just for Christmas — surely this is the same, if not worse, with horses?” she added.
Tony Tyler of World Horse Welfare said he was “very concerned” by the idea of promoting horses as a Christmas present, particularly when the cheapness of the animal was being highlighted.
And Nicola Markwell of Redwings said the advert was “irresponsible” and “frustrating” for charities.
But a spokesman for Horsemart said the festive email was an administrative error”.
Kate Kidger of the Friday Media Group — which owns 73 websites, including Horsemart — told H&H: “Our email team was directed to create a Christmas campaign.
“We do have a separate team that deals with our pet and horse sites for obvious reasons.
“The pet sites and a horse site were removed from this Christmas email schedule, but unfortunately Horsemart was not.
“The issue has now been dealt with and procedures are in place,” she added.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (8 November 2012)