Equine charities in Britain have reported a rise in rehoming figures in 2014 — with World Horse Welfare recording its best performance in a decade.
The charity rehomed more than 300 horses last year. This is a significant rise on 2013, when 216 horses were found new homes.
“We believe that optimism in the economy combined with a greater awareness of the need for and benefits of rehoming are behind the increase, and we hope this trend continues into 2015 and beyond,” World Horse Welfare’s Tony Tyler told H&H.
“We are so grateful to our rehomers for giving our horses the homes they deserve.”
Horses4Homes has also experienced a growth in rehoming numbers, having rehomed 50% more horses in 2014 compared with 2013.
A total of 270 horses — from Cornwall to Scotland — were found new homes, and just under 500 applications for horses were made via the charity’s website.
The charity has seen an 88% increase in the number of views each advert on the site receives compared to 2013.
“We have a large population of relatively low value horses in the UK but the cost of keeping horses continues to rise,” said Rebecca Evans of Horses4Homes. “So there is a high demand for rehoming.”
However, in Northern Ireland an animal sanctuary has told H&H it might have to put horses down in order to remain financially viable.
Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary, near Antrim, is the sole rescue centre for abandoned horses in Northern Ireland.
The charity was set up by Lyn Friel in 1996. So far, only horses with serious health problems have been put down, but Crosskennan is now so overburdened that it is considering putting down healthy horses.
“We are a crisis point,” said Mrs Friel.
She told H&H that indiscriminate breeding and the rising cost of sending horses to the meat trade is responsible for the growing numbers coming into the sanctuary.
The charity now looks after 180 horses and numbers are rising. In the first week of January it took in an emaciated bay mare, a Shetland in foal, a 16hh chestnut mare found in a ditch by the road, a donkey and two ponies. Over Christmas it took in a group of 15 horses found by police loose on a lane at the foot of the Belfast hills.
The charity is advertising in tack shops, livery yards and on local Pony Club and Riding Club websites to try and rehome more horses and ponies.
“We would like to get down to 50-60 horses, so that we can manage to rehome them,” added Mrs Friel.
Ref: Horse & Hound; 5 February 2015