We are open Wednesday - Sunday, from 10am - 4pm
Visit Us

Abandoned Mare and Foal Saved In Time For Christmas

19th December 2023

A mare and her foal abandoned in a field in Flamborough, East Yorkshire would not have seen Christmas if Bransby Horses had not stepped in.

Snow Bunting and her tiny foal Puffin were initially spotted by Humberside police, who called our welfare line with concerns no one had visited the horses for months.

At the time there were another seven ponies who were often escaping from the field, where they were being illegally ‘fly grazed’, but these were taken over night, leaving the mare and foal alone.

Bransby Horses Field Officer Kris Walker said: “When I arrived there were just two horses in the field, a mare and foal. It seems the other seven had been taken away before we got there. I was quite concerned about the foal, as he was very lethargic and depressed. I wasn’t sure if he was suckling either, so there was a concern that he might not even be Snow Bunting’s foal.

“I monitored them daily and it soon became clear they were on their own so we would need to do something if these ponies were going to have any chance of survival.”

We worked with the police, RSPCA and a vet to secure permission to take the mother and her young son into our care.

While processes were followed Kris continued to monitor the ponies, making the trip from Lincoln to Flamborough five times in one week.

Welfare Manager Rachel Jenkinson said: “If the landowner had agreed to be involved we could have issued a four working day Abandonment Notice and got them out of there sooner but unfortunately that wasn’t the case, so the RSPCA took them into their possession with the help of the police. It just made the process a bit longer but the ponies are safe now and in our care.

“We are very grateful to everyone who called us, ultimately saving the lives of these two lovely ponies who would not have lasted through the winter without help. They were both very thin, poor and in need of food and veterinary attention.”

Since his arrival Puffin, who is about six months old and weighs just over nine stone, has improved daily, he is still very thin but now suckling from his mother.

The pair are being treated for very high worm burdens and malnourishment, but it is hoped they will make a full recovery.

All efforts were made to trace an owner but as no one came forward to claim the ponies they have now been signed over into our ownership.

What the Law Says About Abandoned Horses

When equines are grazing on land without permission of the landowner, an abandonment notice can be logged with the police to provide the owner or carer of the equines four days to claim their animal.

Once the Notice has run its course, abandoned equines come under ownership of the landowner who then makes a choice over what happens next.

Options include selling the animals, keeping them or signing them over into the care of a charity such as Bransby Horses.

The Control of Horses Act 2015 is in place to deter people from illegally grazing or simply abandoning horses on public and private land, which is known as ‘fly-grazing’.

As many as 3,000 horses are thought to be illegally fly-grazing across the country.

Whenever equines are abandoned on private land they become the legal responsibility of the land owner who can contact us for help and guidance.