A steep increase in calls to our welfare hotline, from horse owners struggling to afford the upkeep of their animals, is causing concern.
Last year we received 108 calls from members of the public looking for advice on what to do if they could no longer keep their horse and we received 22 direct requests to take ownership of their equine.
So far this year, Bransby Horses has already received 25 direct requests to take ownership of horses from private homes – more than the whole of 2021. Half of them stated this was due to financial reasons.
Welfare Manager, Rachel Jenkinson, said: “We are concerned as a sector that the current financial situation, that is the rise in living costs, is having an impact on many horse owners.
“During the pandemic there was a huge increase in demand for horses and ponies, so we are aware there are more privately owned horses in homes. Now we suspect the value of a horse may decline as the costs to keep them increase.
“We urge any owner who is concerned about their horse or struggling financially, to get in touch with us so we can help before it becomes a problem. Although we may not be able to assist with taking over ownership, we can offer advice and support to ensure the best outcome for everyone.”
According to the Institute for Government’s most recent research on ‘the cost of living crisis’, a combination of high inflation outstripping wage increases and upcoming tax increases are squeezing incomes for many households.
The study goes on to say the crisis will probably worsen as tax increases come in. Fuel and energy prices are already having a huge impact on household bills.
What Can We Do?
• Seek advice from charities such as Bransby Horses if needed. We offer free, non-judgemental advice in the strictest confidence.
• Share the care. Buddy up with someone to do AM or PM checks to cut down on fuel for travelling.
• Share your horse and the costs with a friend.
• If you’re looking to buy a horse, consider fostering an equine from Bransby Horses or another equine charity for added security. For example if your circumstances change, the animal could be taken back as it remains under the ownership of the charity for life. Bransby Horses would also support applicants with finding the right match – which in turn provides the charity with the room to rescue other horses in need.
• Buy second-hand rugs, tack and equipment from Bransby Horses’ charity shop or eBay store.
• Share the costs of bedding, forage, routine farrier, vet, dentist visits and wormers through your maybe add grouping together or livery yard if possible.
• Share travel costs to competitions, events, training with other riders on your yard or near-by.
• Refer to the DEFRA Code of Practice for Horses with basic needs as a prompt to what you will need to adhere to as an owner or care giver.
• Spread the cost of winter over the year with budgeting each month for the big bills such as bedding, vaccinations and forage.
• Have a contingency plan for unexpected bills such as vet treatment or speak to your practice about payment plans so you do not delay getting veterinary advice when needed. It’s worth budgeting around another £1,000 a year for ‘incidental’ costs.
• Be prepared for routine costs such as farriers, feed, livery to go up as costs of fuel are passed on.
Get in touch
Bransby Horses rescues equines, rehabilitates them, gives them sanctuary care and offers non-judgemental equine advice and support to owners, which is available anonymously.
When dealing with a potential welfare issue, the charity’s first priority is to engage and work with owners to resolve issues through advice, support and education. Their role is never to judge people’s circumstances; they are there to help and to improve the welfare of equines to ensure the best outcome for everyone.
To report a welfare concern or for advice and support call 01427 787369 or click here. Our phone line operates Monday to Friday, 8.30 am – 4.30 pm.
Want to help?
We understand the current economic climate is impacting us all, so there are many ways you can help. Click here for more information.
Now more than ever, the need for our charity’s existence is growing. Bransby Horses is funded entirely by public donations. Without your generous support, we can’t continue to provide a safe haven for mistreated and abandoned horses like Stig and Cobalt featured on BBC Look North, carry out our rescue and welfare work, or provide advice and support.