Animal charity RSPCA is urging anyone in Northamptonshire looking to own a horse to adopt from them instead.
RSPCA Northamptonshire rescued nine horses from neglect and suffering across the county - but the nationally, the charity has hundreds looking for loving homes.
As part of the animal welfare charity’s special rehoming drive Adoptober, new figures have been released showing that although 328 horses were found new homes last year, 886 remain in the charity’s specialist equine centres and private boarding stables.
Dr Mark Kennedy, equine welfare specialist at the RSPCA said: “We have been dealing with the effects of the horse crisis for almost seven years now, seeing sick, dying or dead horses up and down the country being neglected or dumped like rubbish.
“It’s heartbreaking that we had to rescue more than 1,000 horses nationally last year. We and other charities are struggling to cope with the large numbers continually coming into our care. We need help from fellow horse lovers. Please, please, please consider adopting your next horse from a charity instead of buying.
“Not only does it mean you won’t be inadvertently funding irresponsible breeders and dealers but you’ll be freeing up a space in our specialist centres for another needy horse, helping us as we work to rehome the hundreds currently living in private boarding stables.”
Over-breeding, the high costs of vet bills, the rising cost of hay and feed and falling demand for some types of horses have all contributed to the horse crisis which has left charities like the RSPCA struggling to cope.
The RSPCA has three specialist equine centres - Lockwood in Surrey, Gonsal Farm in Shropshire and Felledge in County Durham, and equine rehoming facilities at Millbrook in Surrey, Southridge in Hertfordshire and Leybourne in Kent.
The charity rehomed 328 horses and ponies last year, including 102 from RSPCA Gonsal Farm Equine Centre in Shrewsbury.
The charity’s centres are full with hundreds of rescued horses and ponies, and many more are being cared for in private boarding stables or looked after by foster carers.
Adoptober aims to showcase the RSPCA’s horses and ponies’ versatility and capability, whether they are ridden horses, companion animals or youngsters with lots of potential like George (pictured) who is being cared for at a private boarding stables in Cambridgeshire.
Mark added: “Many people know how rewarding rescuing a dog or cat can be, and what a fantastic range of animals come into our care looking for new homes, and we really hope horse people will see that it’s the same for horses - we have some excellent horses and ponies just waiting for a chance in a new home.
“I have rescue horses myself, and know how satisfying it is working with them and bringing out their full potential. In particular, mine have been very responsive to clicker training and it has helped bring out their playful and intelligent nature. Seeing horses who have had a bad start in life developing into fantastic companions or successful riding and competition horses is incredibly rewarding, made even better by knowing you are helping other needy horses by freeing up spaces for them in welfare charity care”.