A distressed mare has been rescued after she was forced to give birth while tethered by the neck.
Bristol-based charity HorseWorld rescued the mare and foal, named Catena and Salisbury, in May.
“Tethering can be very dangerous and is not a practice we would recommend at the best of times,” said HorseWorld’s equine rescue manager Jerry Watkins
“Catena had to go through the pain and discomfort of giving birth while being restrained by a chain which prevented her from moving around freely and frequently entangled her legs.
“She was also left without shelter or water for long periods of time and was accompanied in the field by a stallion who had tried to attack her foal. She was restrained from protecting her own baby and was very distressed.”
Catena and Salisbury were seized under the animal welfare act and brought back to HorseWorld so the charity could begin their rehabilitation.
Catena’s hooves were very overgrown and split.
Her hinds had shoes on and her front feet still had nails in where the shoes had been pulled off as the hooves grew. The mare is now receiving specialist hoof care as part of her rehabilitation.
She is now running loose in a large field with Salisbury and is “enjoying the freedom”, according to the charity.
Tethering is not illegal, but the charity feels the practice denies the horse the freedom to behave naturally.
“A frightened horse is denied the ability to run, the most basic instinct of a prey animal. If tethered to or near a tree, the horse can become entangled and injure itself. If tethered in open ground, it has no shelter from sun, wind, rain or flies,” said a spokesman for the charity.
“Any grazing a tethered horse has access to will quickly become poached or fouled with droppings as the horse cannot walk more than a few metres.
“A tethered horse cannot interact with other horses, it cannot engage in mutual grooming or other social interactions. The provision of water that cannot be knocked over, become a tangle risk or be a water source that the horse can fall into is virtually impossible.”
The charity is now appealing for information on the public’s view on the practice.
“We would like to know people’s opinions on tethering” said HorseWorld’s communications officer, Amy Williams.
“We have set up an online poll which you can take part in quickly and easily on the HorseWorld website news page.”
For more information visit: www.horseworld.org.uk