If you are concerned about a horse please call us on 01268 584603. Unfortunately we are unable to answer calls out of hours but please leave a voicemail message we will return your call as soon as possible. Your call will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
We take welfare reports over the telephone as this allows us to ask any questions we need in order to assess the urgency and get the full picture about what is happening. It also allows us to make sure we know exactly where the horses are.
When leaving a message, please state your phone number clearly and repeat it – this is particularly important if you’re calling from a mobile as it may be a bad line.
Please refrain from discussing welfare concerns on social media, there are a number of significant pitfalls with this approach and we would urge caution in doing so. It could be detrimental to the rescue of a horse or pony or to any potential legal action against the person responsible. In addition to this, by sharing images across social channels, a neglectful or abusive owner may receive a warning that they are due to be visited and therefore have a chance to remove the animal or temporarily improve its care, leaving rescuers unable to find the horse and/or remove it. In some cases, we have worked hard over a period of time to develop lines of communication with owners in order to get access to animals which may be of concern, and these same owners can very quickly cut off these lines of communication if they feel as though they are being publicly criticised. In certain circumstances it can be extremely difficult to get access to horses which are of concern and options such as getting a warrant – which has to be issued by a court – can be difficult to achieve and will inevitably take time to put in place, giving the owner yet more opportunity to remove the horse or make just enough of an improvement so that no action can be taken. Many of these outcomes would not be in the best interests of the animals involved.
When should I report Horse neglect?
Is the horse sleeping or collapsed?
Horses will lie down to sleep so it is important wherever possible to distinguish between a horse which is collapsed and one which is simply lying down.
Is the horse lame?
Where the horse is unable to put one foot to the floor or clearly unable to put any weight on one limb. Horses will often ‘rest’ a hind leg when they’re standing, so it is important wherever possible to distinguish between a lame horse and one which is resting a leg.
Has the horse got laminitis?
This is a serious condition which affects the hooves of the horse and severely affected animals will have a ‘pottery’ walk and may stand in a particular way, leaning back on their heels to relieve the weight on their front legs:
Has the horse got a severe injury?
Anything which is obviously causing serious pain or distress to the horse.
Is the horse trapped?
This could include caught in fencing, stuck in a ditch, tangled in a tether or anything similar.
Is the horse underweight or overweight?
Key things to assess on an underweight horse are whether the ribs and spine are prominent and if the hip bones are protruding. Horses often lose weight during the winter; a time which coincides with them having long winter coats. This long hair can disguise poor body weight and areas such as ribs can be hidden. One of the more reliable areas to look at is the rear view as horses will drop weight either side of their spine and can appear ‘triangular’ from behind:
Has the horse got overgrown feet?
If hooves are very long or have severe cracks in them, particularly if this is affecting the way the horse moves, they should be seen by a professional.
There are many other reasons to call us however some are not illegal and so therefore difficult to resolve. Our staff will be able to advise in each instance.
Below are some examples, however if you feel the horse is in danger or distress then please still call us:
The horse has no rug – Most horses in the UK can cope without a rug in winter.
The horse has no shelter – Shelter can be natural for example trees as well as manmade. It is ideal that a horse has access to shelter but it’s not a legal requirement.
Tethering – It is legal to tether horses providing it is not causing them a physical problem or done in a dangerous way. Many tethered horses will not be left with water at all times for a variety of reasons – although not always evident, owners of tethered horses will often bring water and food at specific times during the day (possibly very early in the morning or very late at night).
The horse has no food or water – It is not a legal requirement to provide these at ALL times so there is nothing we can do about this specifically. However, horses which aren’t getting food or water will soon start to show physical signs, in which case please do contact us as soon as possible.
The horse is on the road – Please report this to the police as an emergency as the horse will be at risk as well as other road users.
Waterlogged or Muddy fields – if the horse has a physical problem as well as being in a muddy field then do let us know, we can discuss individual cases with you to ensure the horse is not at risk as being left in these conditions may not be suitable.