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Blue Cross Young Horse Crisis

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2013 by Heather Dodd

Emmett body 15-6-12 Blue Cross for Central Horse News
Blue Cross has seen a 28 per cent increase in the number of welfare cases involving young horses and ponies, being admitted to its centres this year. The charity is urgently seeking experienced temporary homes for youngsters to free up space at centres for the further welfare intakes anticipated this winter.

This year 55 of the 197 horses admitted to the leading animal charity’s horse centres in Oxfordshire and Staffordshire have been youngsters under the age of four – a 28 per cent increase on last year (43). In addition the charity has witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of in-foal mares and mares with foals at foot being admitted to its centres and has already taken in a total of 13 this year.

These figures reflect the concerns voiced by leading charities, including Blue Cross, over the increasing numbers of horses and ponies needing their help. The organisations have warned that should a harsh winter be ahead they will be unable to cope with the numbers currently estimated to be at risk.*

Kath Urwin, manager of the Blue Cross Rehoming Centre at Rolleston in Staffordshire said: “That such high numbers of youngsters are being admitted as welfare cases is particularly worrying. From responsible breeding to rehoming rescue horses, everyone has a part to play in helping to turn this alarming trend around.”

To ensure there is enough space at its centres to take in welfare emergencies this winter Blue Cross is urgently looking for experienced temporary homes for 23 youngsters, until they are old enough to be backed either in the home or at the centre, as well as eight mares with foals at foot.

Emmett (pictured above) was less than a year old when he rescued as part of a large welfare operation by the RSPCA in January 2012. He was severely malnourished and suffering from strangles as well as a lice infestation when he arrived at Blue Cross and needed veterinary care, a special feeding regime and intensive handling to prepare him for his future.

With lots of patience and a tailor made training programme to help him bond with people and build his confidence Emmett turned a corner and became bolder and more content, and he has now been rehomed as a field-mate to another pony. He is progressing well and has settled happily into his new home. When Emmett is four years old, he will be assessed to see if he is suitable for training as a riding pony.

Kath explains: “If you have the facilities and knowledge to help us you might also be interested in our foster care scheme that uses suitable volunteers to provide short term respite care for some of our horses and ponies. We will provide support, guidance and training and will reimburse for costs.”

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