Why Do So Many Horses Need New Homes?
There has never been a time when all horses were properly cared for and had loving homes. But the incidence of abandoned and neglected horses is clearly on the rise.
Many charities are saying that they are full and cannot accommodate any more horses. The Blue Cross has taken in 50 horses to its Oxfordshire centres this year and the Redwings Horse Sanctuary has taken in 326 horses in 2016, more than double the numbers they were seeing just 7 years ago. There are now few places where abandoned horses could possibly go.
So why are so many horses being cast aside?
The Cost of Horse Ownership
Abandonment and neglect are issues which have been getting worse for the last few years. The rise in the cost of keeping a horse is probably a significant factor. Many people are duped into thinking that they can afford a horse because they are relatively cheap to buy. But the purchase price is only the start and is a one off cost. Food, veterinary bills, bedding and livery are ongoing expenses which many families find they simply can’t afford. There are ways to reduce costs as we have written about in .
Divorce and Family Break-up
It all too common for families to split up these days and that is problematic for horses. A divorce can be a costly enterprise and inevitably means that families are disrupted. People are left without the means to finance their horse or lose the support structure that enables them to take the time to care for their animal.
To make matters worse, some people don’t deal with the situation appropriately when they find themselves unable to meet the cost of keeping their horse. The Blue Cross say that they are finding more and more horses are simply abandoned on the side of roads or left in public fields. Some owners even just stop paying their livery fees and disappear, leaving the horse at the yard for someone else to deal with. Desperate owners are advertising their horses for sale on Gumtree and eBay for as little as £10.
Over breeding in the private sector is contributing to the problem as the number of available horses exceeds the demand for them.
There are many horses desperately needing a new home where they can be cared for properly. Taking on a rescue horse is often a great deal more rewarding than buying one. Every horse has its quirks and issues but if you make the effort, the results can be fabulous.
Can You help?
If you are able to offer a home to an abandoned horse then contact the Blue Cross, Redwings or the RSPCA to learn about the animals that need re-homing. You never know, that phone call or email could be the start of a special and rewarding relationship.