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Maximus at Bransby

Unprecedented Number Of Hoof Neglect Cases

29th December 2023

As one of the UK’s biggest equine welfare charities, 2023 has been a busy year for Bransby Horses.

We currently have 292 equines on site and over 607 in homes – and as of the end of October 2023 we had rescued 119 and rehomed 83.

Sadly, we have seen a steep rise in cases involving equines in desperate need of farrier attention, along with a record number of abandoned horses.

Lack of finances were at the root of many cases, but horses being difficult to handle, coupled with owner ignorance, have been contributing factors given for hoof care falling below the basic level required under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Welfare manager Rachel Jenkinson said: “We’ve seen about 18 cases (of neglected hoof care) this year, which is unprecedented for us. We’ve seen similar cases over the years but never this many and it’s concerning.

“We are working hard to develop relationships with other professionals and businesses to raise awareness of how Bransby Horses can support them with any welfare concerns they may see. Our priority will always be to work with owners to safe-guard the welfare of the equine.”

In October this year we admitted two ponies, signed over to us after the owner realised they could not provide the urgent care they needed.

Sadly, the only treatment option for them, after a full assessment from our vets and farrier, was euthanasia as the internal damage to their hoof structures, ligaments and tendons were irreversible.

And back in January, our first call of the year involved two young cobs abandoned in an open field.

All equines need to be seen by a registered farrier every six to eight weeks

Both ponies were very wary and challenging to handle with extremely overgrown hooves – we suspect they may never have seen a farrier in their lifetime.

Rachel said: “In 2023 we responded to 18 cases of neglect, directly associated with hoof care. Six equines have sadly been euthanised as the damage was irreversible. We have also responded to many calls about horses and ponies on land without the owner’s permission, who have not been microchipped, making it very difficult for us or the authorities to trace and owner. In total, 22 equines with no registered owner were signed over to us, under the Control of Horses Act.

“This winter has hit all of the equine community hard, so we are expecting an increase in calls for support and welfare concerns as we head into 2024.”

You can find more information about hoof care by clicking here.

As a charity we continue to work hard to be there for the most vulnerable equines, as well as to educate people about their care and to improve awareness of equine welfare in general.

Without the support of you, our supporters, we would not be able to do the work we do and for this we are eternally grateful.