The charity has received a spate of calls about distressing equine incidents
In a new move for the CCI four star competition
International horse charity, World Horse Welfare, has launched a new fundraising initiative which challenges supporters to don their aprons, get baking and host their own stable-themed breakfast brunch, The Morning Feed.
Designed to get friends, family, riding partners, yards, competition teams and colleagues together to have fun and raise vital funds to support World Horse Welfare’s work, The Morning Feed asks budding baking stars and kitchen captains to create mouth-watering recipes using ingredients that would even tempt your horse!
A little help has already been offered from some familiar faces such as World Horse Welfare Patron, Lee McKenzie, who has devised a delicious Healthy ‘Cool Mix’ Granola, Jane Holderness-Roddam CBE LVO who has come up with the ultimate Power Breakfast and fellow World Horse Welfare Patron and Olympic medallist, Pippa Funnell, who has created Healthy Granola Biscuits.
Launched in partnership with Horse & Hound, which has chosen World Horse Welfare as its Charity of the Year for 2017, The Morning Feed is set to become a regular event of the charity’s fundraising calendar. World Horse Welfare Director of Fundraising, Emma Williams, explains:
“We really wanted to come up with a new fundraising initiative which would give our supporters the opportunity to get together with their friends and family for a fun event whilst helping raise awareness and vital funds for World Horse Welfare as we celebrate our 90th anniversary.
“Even if your skills with a mixing spoon and pastry cutter are not quite as refined as those of baking legend Mary Berry, we really want to encourage everyone to get involved whether it is through hosting their own Morning Feed event, creating a delicious recipe with an equestrian twist or simply sampling some of the delectable treats at a friend’s or colleague’s event. We can’t wait to see and hear what culinary creations our supporters cook up!”
This is an important year (2017) for World Horse Welfare as the charity celebrates its 90th Anniversary. Founded in 1927 by Ada Cole to stop the live transport of horses to slaughter across Europe, the charity was formerly named the International League for the Protection of Horses. Nine decades on and World Horse Welfare continues to be the voice of invisible horses all over the world from those who suffer neglect and welfare problems in silence across the UK to the many thousands of working horses ignored by Governments and policymakers to those subjected to the torture of travelling hundreds of miles across Europe to slaughter.
Apply for your fundraising pack here: http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/morningfeed
The RSPCA is increasingly concerned about an equine crisis in Kent this winter involving horses who were neglected and then ‘dumped to die’.
The charity has received a spate of calls about distressing equine incidents in the county in the past few months.
In this time RSPCA inspector Rosie Russon and other officers have been called to more than 38 heartbreaking scenes in the county, with horses found dead or dying. They were left in terrible conditions by the side of roads, in woodland and sometimes dumped under fly-tipped debris as if they were rubbish.
Of these, 13 horses were found already dead, and 25 were collapsed and dying – six in such a poorly state that nothing could be done to save them and 19 able to be rescued, cared for and treated.
Inspector Russon said: “The equine crisis in Kent has been horrendous over the past couple of months and doesn’t feel like it is slowing down.
“I have been called out again and again to horses who are either already dead – or they are so neglected and unwell it is just too late to save them.
“The issue is particularly noticeable between November and spring because of winter-related problems like the lack of grazing and redworm and cold weather pushing animals who are already ill over the edge.
“These issues should be easily treatable, but instead of being given the care they need, the horses are just being neglected and then dumped to die.
“Horses can be very expensive to keep and we believe some people decide to callously abandon their poorly horses instead of pay for veterinary treatment. We urge owners who are struggling to care for their horses are urged to contact the RSPCA or other horse welfare charities for advice and assistance rather than dump their animals in a dying state.”
Among the heartbreaking scenes the RSPCA has been called to recently are:
- A dead horse found dumped in Bull Hill, Horton Kirby, Dartford, on Tuesday, 21 February
- The bodies of two horses found dumped on Beech Road, Kingshill in West Malling on Friday, 17 February (pictured above left)- one a year-old dark Bay mare with white socks, wrapped in a blue horse rug in woodland
- A dead horse was tied to a tree by the church in Lamberhurst, Tunbridge Wells on Friday, 17 February
- Six dying horses found in the Dartford area on Thursday, 16 February. As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot go into further details.
- A skewbald mare and her foal were found dumped in Wouldham Road, Rochester on Thursday, 16 February in an extremely poorly state. Both were emaciated and weak. The filly is still in RSPCA care, but sadly the mare died a few days later.
- A piebald horse was found dead and dumped on the side of the road in Eglantine, Horton Kirby on Tuesday, 14 February
- A young piebald pony was found collapsed and dying in Yalding, Maidstone on 28 January. We got a vet to check on her but sadly she was so unwell so could not be saved and had to be put to sleep to end her suffering.(pictured above, right)
- The body of a horse dumped underneath a pile of planks in a field in Horton Kirby, Dartford of wood on 2 January – next to a can of petrol container. We assume that the intention may have been to set the body on fire (pictured top left). A few days later six more horses were rescued from the same location – all still in our care.
- The body of the dead pony was dumped on a woodland path is the Wateringbury, Maidstone, in the first week of January (pictured above, right)
Inspector Russon added: “The incidents we know about are probably the tip of the iceberg, and there are probably an awful lot more cases of dead and dying horses which we aren’t told about – who are removed by the police or other agencies, or perhaps rescued by other charities.
“This equine crisis is heartbreaking for us all. We do all we can to rescue animals when we can but often by the time we are called about them it is too late and the horses are already in far too poorly a state for us to be able to help them.
“We will always look into cases of animal welfare reported to us, and do all we can to protect the welfare of the animals involved, but we rely on the public to be our eyes and ears in these situations as we can only investigate when we have information and evidence about who may have dumped an animal.
“Equally, it is important for people to remember we are a charity and have to act within the law. We do not have legal powers to remove an animal who belongs to someone, even when they have been left to fly-graze, and it is only the police who can take them and place them into our care when a vet has said there is there is evidence they are suffering.”
The RSPCA urges anyone who has any information at all about who dumped and neglecting their horses to call us on 0300 1234 999, in complete confidence.
The charity’s cruelty line received 75 complaints, rescues and collections about horses in Kent in November, 69 in December and then in January the number rose to 108. In February the figure was 82.
To help the RSPCA carry out their vital work please text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).
International horse charity named first ever Charity of the Year for prestigious three-day event
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (31 August – 3 September 2017) are delighted to announce that they have chosen leading charity, World Horse Welfare, as their official Charity of the Year in 2017.
In a new move for the CCI four star competition – which is listed as one of the UK’s top ten sporting events and in 2016 attracted over 155,000 visitors -World Horse Welfare will be the event’s first ever official charity.
Event Director of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Elizabeth Inman said:
“We are thrilled to introduce a charity partner to the horse trials and are looking forward to working with World Horse Welfare during the milestone of their 90th year.
“After a thorough selection process, we are confident that our chosen charity’s work helping horses in the UK and internationally – and their support for the responsible use of horses in sport – will chime well with our audience.”
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, said:
“It is a true honour to have been chosen as Land Rover Burghley’s charity of the year, which gives us a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our global work to such extensive and relevant audience of visitors from across the world.
“Land Rover Burghley is a world leading 4* Event, which chimes so well in this special year for World Horse Welfare as we celebrate our 90th anniversary.
“We cannot wait to start working on our partnership with the Event and on behalf of everyone at World Horse Welfare; I would like to express our sincere thanks to Liz Inman and her team for choosing us.”
A woman from Aldershot was found guilty last week (25 Jan) of causing unnecessary suffering to her pony.
Mae Doble, (D.O.B 02/10/1947) appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on 25 January, in a case brought in by the RSPCA.
She was convicted of an allegation under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, after her pony Honey was discovered in March 2016, severely underweight and suffering.
Doble, of Stockbridge Drive, Aldershot, Hampshire was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to her pony, Honey, by failing to seek veterinary care between 29 February 2016 and 28 March 2016, which led to the pony’s condition rapidly deteriorating.
Doble was given a five year ban on owning all animals, and ordered to pay costs of £750, received a £480 fine and a £48 victim surcharge.
RSPCA inspector Maxine Jones said: “We received a complaint about Honey’s condition and when I arrived at the property and saw her, I was shocked. She was the thinnest pony I had ever seen.
“Police removed Honey and placed her into our care, but despite our team’s best efforts, sadly she passed away two days after her rescue.
“If only Honey had been given the right veterinary care by her owner, she would never have got so poorly. This sad case is a strong example of how much responsibility comes with owning a horse, and we urge people to consider really carefully if they are in a position to properly care for one.”
If you think you can offer a home to a rescue horse from the RSPCA please visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/rehomeahorse
Youngster Banjo found with painful sores makes amazing recovery
World Horse Welfare Field Officer, Nick White, found Banjo when visiting the area with an RSPCA Inspector. He said:
“When I first saw Banjo, he was a very frightened little pony and was hiding behind a very deep ditch from the other horses in the field where he had been abandoned. He was standing in the corner, right next to a very popular London park and must have been seen by hundreds of people, but no one had taken the time to notice his terrible condition or made any effort to report him to a welfare charity. He truly was an invisible horse.
“His injuries were so severe that he was unwilling to walk or move at all. His left hind leg was swollen, his flanks were red raw, sore, bleeding and showing signs of infection. There was barely enough for him to eat in the small section of the field where he stood and he was certainly unable to walk to where water was available. Banjo had no microchip and despite making enquiries in the local area, no owner could be found. A veterinary surgeon pronounced him to be suffering so thankfully we could remove him to the safety of World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre where he could receive the care he so desperately needed.”
Once he arrived at Hall Farm, Banjo’s wounds were thoroughly cleaned and examined by the team and vet, Andy Williamson. Andy said: “One of Banjo’s wounds was so deep that it had exposed the muscle tissue and certainly wasn’t the normal presentation of pressure sores which we often see. It is impossible to explain how he could have ended up with these terrible injuries and he must have been in a lot of pain.”
Banjo received laser treatment which stimulates the blood flow and helped the skin to heal over the damaged areas. Six months later, he has made a fantastic recovery and has found a loving new home on World Horse Welfare’s Rehoming Scheme.
“Looking at Banjo now, I’m amazed at his recovery. I never thought that I would see this pony in such good condition with his wounds healed so well. This is truly what World Horse Welfare is all about. Banjo is a happy, healthy, bright little pony with a sweet nature and his whole life ahead of him. Even though he has been rehomed, he remains in the ownership of World Horse Welfare for the rest of his life so we can guarantee that he never has to go through this suffering again.”
World Horse Welfare has named 2016 the year to highlight the world’s invisible horses who often suffer in silence as people either cannot or choose not to see them. From the horses left in barns and stables for weeks on end, to those working many hours every day on the streets of Choluteca in Honduras or Cape Town in South Africa who go unnoticed by governments and policymakers, to the horses transported long distances across borders to uncertain futures and those who sadly are sometimes found too late.
Support World Horse Welfare’s Christmas Gift Appeal and help buy vital supplies to help transform the lives of horses just like Banjo www.worldhorsewelfare.org/christmasappeal
Maggie was found with open sores all over her body and was caring for both her own foal and an orphan
When piebald mare, Maggie, was discovered by a World Horse Welfare Field Officer she was in a terrible condition, dangerously underweight and covered in angry infected sores, with skin peeling off her back and face. Not only this, but she was also caring for her own seven month-old foal, Rosie, and orphan foal, Jim, whose mother had recently died.
It was clear that all three horses needed immediate attention so they were travelled to World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Somerset where the team found Maggie’s wounds were much worse than expected and there were actually maggots living under the infected skin on her back. World Horse Welfare Glenda Spooner Farm Supervisor, Sara Jerman, said:
“Maggie’s skin condition was probably the worst I’ve ever seen. The sores on her back and face were open and really red, her ribs and hip bones were clearly visible and despite all this she was still being an incredibly good mother by taking care of the two foals.
“Once Maggie’s skin condition began to clear up, we were then able to turn her out in the paddock with her two foals where they were all able to explore and relax, knowing that they were in the best of care. Sadly, after a couple of months Maggie’s condition started to deteriorate with her quickly becoming very ill and it was apparent there was something else wrong with her.
“After two or three days of nursing, Maggie was still very poorly with no signs of improvement so we had to make the heart wrenching decision to have Maggie put to sleep.
“Whilst we were all incredibly sad to lose this lovely mare, her legacy will live on in these two beautiful little foals. Maggie was an amazing mother, giving everything she could to both brave little foals and they are now thriving in our care.
“There are many more invisible horses out there just like Maggie, Rosie and Jim who are in need of our help and with the harsh winter weather setting in, we are likely to see an increase. World Horse Welfare relies entirely on voluntary donations and without our dedicated supporters; we would simply not be able to continue helping vulnerable horses and ponies to have a second chance.”
Throughout December World Horse Welfare will be sharing stories of rescue, hope and inspiration, showing just how vital our supporters’ donations are in helping our team to give horses the ultimate gift of care this Christmas.
Support World Horse Welfare’s Christmas Gift Appeal and help buy vital supplies to help horses just like Maggie, Rosie and Jim www.worldhorsewelfare.org/christmasappeal
For more information, images or to arrange an interview please call Carys Samuel on: 01953497248 or 07826 871 682 or Jessica Stark on: 07900 994002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Speakers at World Horse Welfare Conference 2016 call on everyone to play their part
A host of influential speakers from across the equestrian and charity sectors, including singer, songwriter and actor, Will Young, explored the theme of the ‘Invisible Horse’ at World Horse Welfare’s Annual Conference (10th November).
Will gave a moving presentation about the plight of the Bodmin Moor ponies and his journey through understanding the issues faced by not only these ponies, but the many others in similar situations all across the country. He explained that since becoming involved with local charity, Shires Holt, he has learnt much more about the invisibility of horses in the UK. Will said: “In general, there is now a lack of value to the horse yet they still continue to be a status symbol. There is a paradox here.” He called for everyone to become involved in raising awareness of invisible horses, saying: “I am just one person who is saying ‘did you know about these problems?’ and people are responding with a willingness to help. I’ve come here today because I think it’s great to use one example (Bodmin Moor) of a microcosm in the UK, this is going on across the UK. We are all here because we are passionate about the welfare of horses and ponies.”
World Horse Welfare President, HRH The Princess Royal, gave her thoughts on who should take on the responsibility for horses. She said: “First and foremost it (responsibility) must be with the owner. People need to understand that taking on a horse is a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year responsibility. It is not 9-5 or whenever you feel like visiting on a weekly basis.” HRH also expressed the importance of education in ensuring horses do not end up as welfare cases, and the need to put measures in place to prevent welfare problems – keeping prosecutions as a last resort. Attention was turned to the world of endurance in the UAE with an enlightening presentation from His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Emirates Heritage Club in the UAE who spoke on the Boutheib Initiative which has made tremendous steps in improving horse welfare in the sport. He spoke of his strong belief that endurance should not be about the first horse past the post but instead the horse in the best condition at the finish. In a sport which had been rocked by negativity over recent years, His Highness presented a positive and forward-thinking approach with greater rules and regulation to protect horse welfare that has already seen success through a huge reduction in injuries and eradication of horse fatalities through the 2016 season. He said: “Removing the focus on speed does not remove competition in endurance. The real competition should be about your horse finishing in the best possible condition.”
Chris Riggs of the Hong Kong Jockey Club presented on equine welfare in China and the many challenges horses there face from a lack of access to specialist equine veterinary care, knowledge and facilities. Chris also spoke of the equestrian industry’s fast-growth in China, with investment in breeding programmes, veterinary training, the building of a 1,600 horse capacity Thoroughbred training centre, a greater focus on the leisure horse industry and Beijing chosen as host for the 2018 World Equine Veterinary Association conference which World Horse Welfare will play a supporting role in. Chris said: “Whilst there are many challenges when looking at equine welfare in China, there are also many opportunities. Attitudes are changing all the time and the industry is growing rapidly by 20% per annum so there is a real appetite for education and training which is very positive for the future.”
Head of Data Analysis at nfpSynergy, Cian Murphy, discussed the ways in which charities can rebuild the public’s trust after revelations of underhand fundraising tactics and poor supporter communication have severely undermined their status. He spoke of research which showed there is a lack of understanding of how large charities work and demonstrated public desire for charities to be subject to greater regulation even if this would mean a reduction in the money they raise. He said: “Charities need to be open, honest and explain to their supporters exactly how and why their donations are used in the way that they are. Trust is about listening to supporters and communicating with them so that any problems or concerns are addressed before they turn into bigger, headline issues.”
Journalist, author and broadcaster, Anthony Hilton, gave his views on the issues of public trust in charities – calling for more trust and transparency. He said: “Charities need to be open and honest about not only their successes but also their failures too.”
A discussion panel chaired by Olympic gymnast, presenter and World Horse Welfare Patron, Suzanne Dando-Reynolds debated the role of charity in equine welfare in the UK and covered issues such as who is responsible for equine welfare emergencies, how horse owners can be educated and the role of campaigning in improving equine welfare. International event rider, Harry Meade, expressed the importance of putting the horse first in the world of equestrian sport. He said: “We need to ensure a high welfare standard throughout horse sport. Not simply the elements which are very much in the public eye but what happens in the collecting ring and behind closed doors.”
Labour MP, Angela Smith, praised the ways in which equine welfare charities work in partnership but highlighted a need for stronger partnership working with local authorities to tackle welfare problems.
Tim Morris, Member of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England, expressed the problems equines face due to falling between the gaps in legislation. He said: “We are in a situation where horses are in some respects regarded as an agricultural animal but then in others are regarded as a non-agricultural animal and so we must be careful to ensure we fill these gaps and don’t let them become invisible as a result.”
Editor of Horse & Rider and Pony magazines, Louise Kittle, raised the importance of education in improving horse welfare and emphasised the pool of resources, knowledge and experience within welfare charities which can be shared with both the public and horse owners through the media.
World Horse Welfare Chairman, Barry Johnson MRCVS, highlighted the challenges facing equine welfare charities due to public perception of what constitutes a welfare concern and what is a resolution to a welfare case. He said: “Prosecutions are the end of the line and wherever possible we will work with owners to support and advise. Equine welfare charities work well together in partnership to achieve a successful end result but this might not always be what the public want or hope to see.”
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, spoke of the many different forms that invisible horses can take. He used examples from all areas of the equestrian world to paint the picture of invisible suffering before giving an inspirational and rousing call for everyone to play their part in bringing invisible horses into the spotlight. He said:
“We all have the power to shine a spotlight on invisible horses and invisible suffering. We can all play a part in stamping it out. What strikes me is that organisations can have great power, especially when working in partnership, but the individual can inspire or contribute to real change too. Our founder Ada Cole did this 90 years ago. There are many sitting in the audience here who have shown similar leadership. Let’s use our combined motivation and power – breeders, regulators, policy makers, sister charities, horse owners, donors, enforcement agencies and vets – to bring all horses in to the light and give them the care and protection they so desperately deserve.”
Three Charity in Action presentations from members of the World Horse Welfare team then shone a light on different aspects of the charity’s work including campaigns, international training and UK welfare.
To watch the full day of activity from the World Horse Welfare Conference 2016 visit: www.youtube.com/horsecharity
Invisible Horses Brought into the Spotlight at Charity’s Annual Conference
The 2016 World Horse Welfare Conference will explore the theme of ‘The Invisible Horse’ through a range of influential speakers, a discussion panel and three ‘Charity in Action’ presentations.
The annual conference, will focus on what makes a suffering horse – or one that is likely to suffer – ‘invisible’ and the essential role of charities and others in bringing their plight into the spotlight, plus ongoing work to tackle the root causes of their invisibility.
His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Emirates Heritage Club in the UAE will speak on The Bouthieb Initiative – a way of valuing welfare over speed in the sport of endurance which has been plagued by negative stories and welfare problems in recent years, whilst Chris Riggs of the Hong Kong Jockey Club will present on the development of equine health and welfare standards in China. Another presenter, to be revealed on the day, will focus on invisible horses in the UK.
Broadcaster, journalist, author and lecturer, Anthony Hilton and Head of Data Analysis of nfpSynergy, Cian Murphy, will discuss the issues of declining trust in charities and what the sector must do to combat this shift.
A discussion panel chaired by Olympic gymnast, presenter and World Horse Welfare Patron, Suzanne Dando-Reynolds will help lead a debate on the role of charity in equine welfare in the UK with panellists including; international event rider, Harry Meade, Labour MP, Angela Smith, Member of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England, Tim Morris, magazine Editor, Louise Kittle and World Horse Welfare Chairman, Barry Johnson MRCVS.
World Horse Welfare President, HRH The Princess Royal, will complete the morning session with her words and thoughts on the Invisible Horse theme.
Following the speakers and discussion panel, members of staff from World Horse Welfare will lead interactive ‘Charity in Action’ presentations focussing on the charity’s work making invisible horses visible, including working horses in South Africa, improving welfare at slaughter (including the use of CCTV), and the hidden and unseen problems faced by vulnerable horses in the UK.
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, said:
“Each year since it began, our annual conference has grown in both size and influence and 2016 is set to be our biggest yet. We are delighted to host such a wide range of influential speakers and panellists who will all bring unique perspectives and insights to our theme.”
“We look forward to welcoming our guests to the Royal Geographical Society and to the many people who will be following proceedings through our live stream. It is set to be a highly thought provoking day and one that helps identify tangible and practical ways to make more of the world’s invisible horses visible.”
World Horse Welfare’s Annual Conference is an invitation only and the guest list is now full.
A live stream of the whole day can be found at: www.youtube.com/horsecharity
Redwings Horse Sanctuary believes the loss of two of its rescued horses from one of the charity’s Norfolk farms this weekend was a result of nearby fireworks displays.
On the evening of Saturday 5th November and morning of Sunday 6th November, Redwings vets were called to attend two incidents in the same field at their Piggots farm, south of Norwich. Very sadly, in both cases the horses involved were put to sleep.
Sprite, a 19 year old, 12.2hh Welsh pony was found on Saturday evening by a member of the charity’s Nights team suffering from suspected colic; he was lying down, covered in sweat and breathing heavily.
“Although it may have been a coincidence that loud fireworks were being let off nearby, it is possible that Sprite’s colic could have been brought on by the stress of him and his group charging around the field,” commented attending Redwings veterinary surgeon Dawn Trayhorn. “Similarly, the horses in the neighbouring field were also very agitated and distressed.
“Heartbreakingly, despite treatment and our efforts, and those of his field mates who were pawing at Sprite to try and encourage him to get up, he was unable and unwilling to stand so our only choice was to put him to sleep”.
Sprite’s field at the Norfolk farm was later checked by the team to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the remaining ponies. However, during early morning checks of the same field, Percy – a 25 year old, 13hh Palomino pony – was found non-weight-bearing lame on his right front leg and in an incredible amount of pain.
Percy was immediately brought by trailer into the stables for veterinary examination and radiographs as his front upper leg was incredibly swollen. However, despite administering pain relief, Redwings vet Dawn could not make him comfortable:
“Again, Percy’s injury may have been caused while he was running around the field at high speed. He may have either had a fall or simply damaged his leg while charging about, or possibly even been kicked by another pony in their distress. And again, like his fieldmate, Percy’s injuries were to such an extent and he was in so much pain that there was no choice other than to put him to sleep.
“During my twelve years at Redwings, I have never had to put two ponies to sleep in one evening in the same field as a result of an emergency situation. This has been a devastating loss to the team and to the Sanctuary”.
Reflecting on the two tragic incidents, Redwings’ Chief Executive Lynn Cutress said:
“We are all so upset by what has happened to Sprite and Percy. Both ponies were in their latter stages of life and normally very sedate, as well as used to living out happily all year round, so this behaviour is highly unusual and typical of stress. Although we can never know for sure, it is likely the incidents were as a result of nearby fireworks displays.
“Sprite and Percy were much-loved, long-term residents of Redwings and both had come to us as welfare rescue cases – Sprite when found straying onto a road and no owner in sight, and Percy as part of an RSPCA case when found in poor condition – so losing them has been truly devastating.”
“It seems to me that pyrotechnics have become stronger and louder in recent years so that means even so-called ‘private displays’ can still be very big and visible. It is extremely important that anyone planning a display, no matter the scale, who live near livery yards or land where horses are kept makes the effort to respect our animal friends and be aware of the devastating results of these types of celebrations”.
Redwings Horse Sanctuary has produced a fireworks checklist for owners who are concerned about their horse during firework season, head to www.redwings.org.uk/horses-and-fireworks
On Tuesday 26th April 2016, Redwings Horse Sanctuary assisted RSPCA Cymru with the round up and removal of seven ponies and one foal from a site on Gelligaer Common in South Wales. One further foal was born two weeks later, one older pony sadly passed away shortly after the rescue, and one pony is now with the RSPCA within their rehoming system.
Concerns for the welfare of the group had been raised when Redwings’ senior veterinary surgeon and Head of Welfare and Behaviour Nic de Brauwere together with RSPCA inspector Christine McNeil visited the site to assess their condition. Although they had been receiving supplementary feeding from local rescue workers, it was clear that the tough winter had taken its toll and it was the vet’s expert opinion that the ponies were suffering or likely to suffer if their circumstances did not change. Consequently, Caerphilly Council used their powers under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to enable the RSPCA to remove them from the Common. A team from Redwings also attended to offer their expertise in both assessing their condition and rounding up the horses.
Representatives from the Council who authorised the seizure and the RSPCA made appeals to try and find those responsible for their condition. Following a lengthy legal process seven of the ponies have now been signed over into the permanent care of Redwings and will therefore have a home for life at the Sanctuary. While they were all in very poor body condition and some had heavy worm burdens when they were rescued, they have received veterinary care from the Redwings team and are all now making a good recovery. The remaining pony is currently within the rehoming system at the RSPCA.
Commenting on the rescue, Redwings Head of Welfare and Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Nic de Brauwere, said: “There are so many ponies in need of help on the Common. It was a tough winter of course but this sadly combined with the actions of a number of irresponsible owners who are never brought to task for the indiscriminate breeding and poor management of their ponies.
“Redwings is operating at capacity and we do not really have any spare spaces, however these poor mares and foals were in such a bad way we just had to help them. The RSPCA and the Council did an amazing job in taking action so swiftly, which to my mind saved these ponies’ lives. They will be sure of a happy and long life here with us at Redwings, which is the least they deserve after all they have been through.”
Caerphilly CBC Cabinet Member, Cllr Nigel George added, “I’d like to thank all parties involved for their efforts in ensuring a positive outcome to this situation, and we’re so pleased to hear the ponies are making a good recovery at their new homes with Redwings and the RSPCA”.
To support Redwings in caring for these needy ponies, please donate via their website www.redwings.org.uk/donating or by texting “HORS30 £5” to 70070.