THE RSPCA has launched an emergency appeal to find foster homes for hundreds of young horses as the number in its care has doubled in the past year.
Nationally, the RSPCA is currently looking after 600 ponies and horses which have suffered neglect and cruelty.
To tackle the growing crisis, the RSPCA has launched the Stable Future appeal to find fosterers to temporarily look after some of 270 young horses which are too young to be ridden. There are currently 38 young horses, aged one to three, in the East region, which covers East Anglia and East Midlands.
Sally Learoyd, the RSPCA’s equine re-homing officer, said: “Over the past year we’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of horses being disowned or allowed to get into an appalling state because the trade in horses has collapsed.”
Sally added: “I’ve heard of young horses being sold for £5 – less than the price of a bottle of wine. I’ve even heard of horses being bought and sold in pubs and we’ve come across a case of someone keeping a horse on a tower block balcony and feeding it on kitchen scraps.
“We have a never ending tide of young horses coming into our centres. Fostering our youngsters is a way that horse lovers can help us with this problem.
“We face a huge £3.2 million bill just to care for the influx of ponies and horses, which does not include vet bills or prosecution costs.
The recession, rising hay costs and irresponsible breeding are thought to be to blame for the rising number of horses being neglected and abandoned.
In 2011 the RSPCA dealt with 116 complaints regarding abandoned horses in the East region alone.
Foster carers must have experience in handling horses, grazing and be able to take in a young horse for a minimum of six months. To apply log onto www.rspca.org.uk/stablefuture or call 0300 123 8000 for an application form.