RSPCA staff will be busy caring for hundreds of horses this Christmas as the charity prepares to take in more equines than ever before.

The animal welfare charity rescued 5,429 animals over the last Christmas period** (2017) and took in more than 13,000 animals over last winter*.

As the charity finds itself in the midst of an ongoing equine crisis - with high numbers of horses being neglected or abandoned - staff are preparing for a very busy Christmas.

Last year, the charity had more than 8,000 animals in its care on Christmas Day - 868 of those were horses - many more than previous years (526 in 2015 and 608 in 2016). And RSPCA officers rescued 48 equines in December alone.

The figure looks set to be even higher this year, as the RSPCA already had 895 horses in its care by the end of October.

One of the horses in need of urgent help was Adie, a youngster found collapsed and on the brink of death on New Year's Eve. He was found collapsed in the mud in a field in Kent by a dog walker and was rescued by a group of amazing passersby and RSPCA staff.

He needed months of round-the-clock care and rehabilitation to get him back on his feet - literally.

That's when Francesca, from Essex, spotted him on the RSPCA's website. She said: "Adie's the most wonderful horse, I feel lucky to have him. The moment I met him was very special - he chose me that day. After spending some time with him on the yard, I went to put him back out into the field and he followed me around the paddock, walking up the fence line with me, it was such a lovely moment as we had really bonded. The grooms said they hadn't seen Adie so relaxed around a new face before, and I had to have him - he'd chosen his new mummy!"

Adie was one of the lucky ones.

The RSPCA received 55,821 calls from concerned members of the public in December (2017) and investigated 9,725 complaints across England & Wales. Of those complaints of cruelty and neglect, 1,338 related to horses.

Brave (pictured above and below) was reported to the charity when he and another pony were found loose on a golf course in Bradford. When RSPCA officers arrived to collect the ponies they realised what awful condition they were in.

Inspector Nikki Cheetham said: "Both of the ponies were severely underweight and incredibly weak. And Brave had extreme rain scald (a bacterial skin infection) all over his body. It was the worst I'd ever seen in a horse."

The little ponies were taken in by the RSPCA for treatment and rehabilitation. Brave had three shoes on horribly overgrown feet and scarring on his withers likely from a driving harness. Now, he's barely recognisable - and is ready to find a loving new home.

Anyone interested in rehoming an RSPCA horse can find out more online: www.rspca.org.uk/homesforhorses.

Last year (2017), the charity took in more horses than in any of the past four years, and weekly more and more horses are being found sick, neglected or dumped like rubbish.

RSPCA equine welfare expert Mark Kennedy said: "We receive around 80 calls a day about horses to our 24-hour emergency hotline and are always being asked to help horses in dire need. As soon as we rehome a horse we have another horse in need entering our care.

"The poor economic climate, over breeding of horses, the high cost of vet care and falling prices for horses have all contributed to the crisis - and with the poor harvest this summer and associated increases in forage, bedding and feed costs we expect even more horses will need our help as we lead up to Christmas."

This Christmas the RSPCA is asking the nation to show kindness to all of the animals in need. Based on the last three winters, the RSPCA expect more than 10,000 animals to be taken into our care this winter.

This year the charity's Kindness At Christmas fundraising appeal hopes to raise money to help cover some of the costs over the festive period. A donation of £12 could help buy the gift of comfort for a needy animal, providing a warm blanket and much-needed food, or £24 could give the gift of safety, helping us answer and respond to a call and provide a safe place in our care.

This Christmas, the charity is asking the public to support its Kindness at Christmas campaign. To donate, please visit www.rspca.org.uk/giftofkindness.

*Winter = 1st December - 28th February
**Christmas = 1st December - 31st December

brave horse

 

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