You only have to turn on the local news or log onto social media, and you are hit with a very sad story of an abandoned horse found emaciated, or worse, dead in a ditch covered in yesterday’s rubbish! It is an image that is very hard to swallow for horse lovers and fanatics, but one we see too often. Unfortunately, abandonment is on the rise and it is not, in some cases, quite as clear cut as you may think. In some cases, due to the economic climate, low wages, high prices of rent and stabling, and lack of knowledge, horses are ‘turfed’ out to face the world alone. It is tragic, but as a community, sometimes we cannot offer support to one and another. If someone feels the only hope their horse has, would be to abandon it and hope it is picked up by the correct authorities, it would all begin to sound like a cataclysmic soap opera ending.
In some cases, the abandonment takes place simply because the horse was bred. Excuses of wrong confirmation are given, such as - “It was the youngest colt”, “I didn’t want a colt”, “I only put three mares in foal, I expected one to take, and all three have”. Unfortunately, these are only a few examples of what you hear when it comes to breeding. Breeding any horse within the UK is unregulated. Anyone can breed; you don’t need a licence or a card. If you woke up tomorrow and said, “I think I am going to breed my mare”, and your mare was all ready to go, then boom…you would have a baby foal in 11 - 12 months, cooked and prepared! Whilst this may seem a fantasy to some, it is a reality, and over-breeding is still on the rise. With horses going for as little as £5 at the market, the fate of these overbred horses and ponies is bleak.