Horse abandonments on the rise

By: Horse Deals

Horse abandonments on the rise
Horse abandonments are on the rise

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has released year-end reporting figures and information which suggest that 2010 was a ‘black year’ for the equestrian community.

In December 2009, 16 horses were reported to Redwings as being abandoned but December 2010 saw 67 abandoned and straying horses and ponies being reported, and over 100 in total since October.

"Abandoning your horse does not necessarily mean it will have a happy ending at a charity or sanctuary because we simply cannot accommodate them all," comments Senior Welfare Officer Rachel Angell. "Times are very tough. We have taken in over 250 horses in the last year alone and are currently caring for almost 1200 every day of the year, reliant entirely on public donations."

The reasons for the rise in abandonments can be split into two categories. The horse market is experiencing a lull at the moment and horses are going for a lot less than they used to. It has become more common for some people to buy 'job lots' and then abandon the ones that are not wanted. This is especially common with colts who cost the most to deal with as they need to be gelded and can be harder to handle.

Secondly – and what will shock some – is that some private owners of just one or two horses are abandoning their animals in rented fields or on livery yards. "They are clearly desperate and feel they have no choice but to walk away from their horse," continues Rachel.

"We want anyone struggling to care for their horse to ring us on 01508 481008 or one of the other equine charities. Ask for advice before considering such a desperate measure as abandonment," concludes Rachel. "Abandoning your horse is not only an offence, and extremely irresponsible, but particularly in this current climate, it simply does not guarantee it any kind of future."

For more information about abandonment, including what to do if a horse has been abandoned on your land, visit