Posted on March 31st, 2015

Urgent #homesforhorses Appeal Launched

The RSPCA is launching an urgent appeal for homes for horses, ponies and donkeys as the number in the charity’s care exceeds 600.

England and Wales are in the grip of a horse crisis and it’s the animals who are paying the price.

In the last three years the RSPCA received 69,410 calls about horses in England alone.  Of these, 1,900 were about abandonments, showing that as the cost of keeping a horse increases, so do the numbers left to suffer or die.

The RSPCA is at capacity with the numbers of horses in its care and desperately need to find homes for them to free up space to take in more neglected and abused animals.  It is also estimated that 4,500 horses are still at risk across England.

Abigail Moon, RSPCA rehoming operations manager, said:  “We have so many beautiful horses and ponies in our care who’ve had a bad start in life and really deserve the care of a great owner.  We have rehomed horses who have gone on to win at shows like Equifest, so it shows that you really can be a winner if you take on a rescue horse.

“There is such a variety available, whether you’re looking for a young or old horse, a companion or one who can be worked.  Many of our horses have suffered terribly so please do think about taking on a rescue horse and giving the the second chance they deserve.”

David Bowles, assistant director for public affairs at the RSPCA, said:  “As the Control of Horses Bill has just been made law, it is too early to know if it will help to reduce the numbers of abandonments across England but when the same legislation was passed in Wales last year we certainly saw more horses at risk over the border in England.

“We hope that the new law, that means that landowners can seize fly grazing horses earlier, will be an incentive to those irresponsible owners who don’t microchip their animals and leave them to suffer, knowing that they could previously get away with it.”

To apply to adopt a horse, pony or donkey please visit

Posted on March 31st, 2015

New Amateur Eventer Dressage Championship at Blenheim

Amateur event riders will have the opportunity to ride at one of Britain’s most prestigious events in a new dressage championships to be held at Blenheim Palace during the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials 17th-20th September.
The Amateur Eventer Dressage Championships, which is kindly sponsored by Gatehouse will take place on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th September, are open to eventers who have competed at British Eventing BE80, BE90, and BE100 level in the current season.
To qualify, riders must have achieved a minimum dressage mark of 70% (30 penalties) in the dressage phase on TWO occasions at the level of class they are competing at.
This Championship is aimed at true amateur event riders, and, as such, combinations must not have competed at CIC2* or CCI2* level or above in the current or preceding season.

For more information about the Amateur Eventer Dressage Championships and to book tickets for Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, visit

Posted on March 19th, 2015

Norwich Woman Sentenced to Eight Weeks Custodial Sentence

A woman has been given a suspended prison sentence and disqualified from keeping all animals for five years after a horse and a donkey were found with hooves so overgrown they could barely walk. The horse also had an infection on his chest so severe that it had become large, ulcerated and bleeding.

Rachel Hindley of Beecheno Road, Norwich, was sentenced to eight weeks custodial sentence, suspended for two years, and made to pay £200 fine and £80 costs  at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 18th March). She had previously been found guilty of offences under the Animal Welfare Act in her absence on 27th January.

The RSPCA and Redwings Horse Sanctuary attended the field in Marl Pit Lane in June 2014, along with the police, a vet and a farrier after concerns had been raised about the welfare of the two animals. They found a skewbald donkey and a dark grey pony, now named Rio and Zeus, both with extremely overgrown hooves. Zeus also had an infected sarcoid on his chest. The vet said the horse and donkey were both suffering and they were taken by the police and placed into Redwings’ care.

RSPCA inspector Ben Kirby said: “We could see immediately that these poor equines were not receiving the care they needed and had to have urgent veterinary attention. They could barely stand – let alone walk – and were clearly suffering. The infected sarcoid on the pony’s chest was horrific – really ulcerated and sore. I’m so pleased to hear that they are now making a good recovery in Redwings’ care. Who knows where it would have ended had we not all been called. They could not have carried on as they were.”

Rio and Zeus were taken into the care of Redwings and have since undergone extensive farrier and veterinary treatment.

MAR15 News Rio Before 1


Posted on March 19th, 2015

Welfare and Rural Organisations Welcome Passage of ‘Fly-grazing’ Bill Into Law

The country’s largest welfare charities, countryside and farming organisations have welcomed the passing of the Control of Horses Bill which will become law before the General Election.

The new law will deter and help to swiftly resolve cases of ‘fly-grazing’ – the practice of placing horses on private and public land without permission.  It will bring England into line with Wales, which introduced a similar law in early 2014 and may have led to the practice growing in England where charities estimate the number of horses fly-grazed to be more than 3,000, causing misery for horses, communities and taxpayers.

World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers said: “After almost three years of campaigning, all of the organisations in our coalition are delighted that Julian Sturdy MP’s Private Members Bill has successfully been passed and will become law before the election.  This law will make a big difference to horse welfare, as charities have been struggling to help the thousands of horses being bred indiscriminately and kept without proper care. It will also help landowners, farmers, communities and taxpayers as it will make action to remove horses much more swift, straightforward and less expensive to take.  The success of the Welsh legislation demonstrates that these laws will work if they are used – so do use them.   We are all immensely grateful to Julian who fought so hard to get this Bill on the table, and successfully secured cross-party backing through Parliament.”

CLA President Henry Robinson says: “We are pleased that farmers and landowners will no longer suffer damage to their land and risk liability for horses that are not theirs and can deal with illegally left horses in a more timely and cost-effective manner. Our members have long been disadvantaged by existing laws used to address fly-grazing and we are pleased that Government has now responded to their concerns.”

The Private Members’ Bill tabled by Julian Sturdy MP for York Outer makes small, but important, changes to the Animals Act 1971 (the law most frequently used to address fly-grazing cases).  The updated law will require landowners to keep any horses placed on their land for only four working days, as opposed to the current two weeks, and will allow more options to dispose of the horses besides public sale, such as gifting them to a charity, selling them privately or humane euthanasia.  The Bill will receive Royal Assent within the next fortnight and thereby become law.

Cllr Ann Lucas OBE, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Illegally tethered horses are a real problem for both urban and rural local authorities. These horses often suffer from injury and malnutrition, but as well as being an animal welfare issue, they place a significant financial burden on councils who have to spend large sums to impound and look after them. They also pose a real risk to people simply going about their business, be that driving on our highways, or enjoying playing fields, nature reserves or parks.”

Cllr Lucas points out that at a time when local government has to make every penny count, it is wrong for taxpayers to face the costs of collecting and caring for these animals on behalf of irresponsible owners.  She says: “This Bill would ease the financial burden on councils while helping to deter the practice in the first place.”

MAR15 News Fly-grazing South Wales