A new report by World Horse Welfare and Glenda Spooner Farm in Somerset published a new report which highlights a cost of living crisis with sanctuaries across the UK.

A survey conducted by World Horse Welfare on behalf of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) reveals the cost of living crisis is having a significant impact on equine rescue centres, sanctuaries, and rehoming organisations across Britain, including World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm in Somerset, one of four rescue and rehoming centres run by the charity.

It comes after a nationwide survey of horse owners published on Monday highlights similar concerns.  

Claire Dickie, farm manager at Glenda Spooner Farm, near Ilchester, expressed the severity of the situation: “We are seeing a lot more horses coming to us as owner support cases where, without exception, financial pressures are cited as either the sole or a contributory factor - and our costs are soaring too. Hay and other necessities are more expensive, and our wonderful vets and specialist teams are doing their best to buffer us from the price increases they are suffering from, but some of those costs inevitably get passed on to us.”

World Horse Welfare and other NEWC members are raising awareness of the situation, before they are faced with another horse crisis. 

The equine welfare organisations surveyed in January and February this year included small rescue centres as well as larger, national charities.

 All 29 organisations who responded said they were concerned with rising costs with over half (51.7%) expressing extreme concern and almost a half (48.3%) worried about maintaining operations over the coming winter. 

All of the organisations that responded to the survey are seeing a rise in operational costs compared to this time last year.

The four main areas of concern are general maintenance of premises (such as electricity and water), general management of equines (such as forage and bedding), routine veterinary costs (such as dentistry and vaccinations), and staffing. 

Tony Tyler, deputy chief executive of World Horse Welfare, commented on how the cost of living crisis is affecting the organisation in other ways: “Our advice and owner support lines have seen a significant increase in the number of calls over the first six months of this year compared to last year and our existing network of field officers on the ground, across the country, are at full capacity visiting potential welfare cases. We, like many other rescue organisations are at, or approaching, full capacity and this could point towards a difficult future for owners, organisations and the welfare of the nation’s horses. If something doesn’t change soon we may return to a welfare crisis - increased costs, more welfare concerns and reducing support just doesn’t add up.” 

The headline results of the survey for rescue centres, sanctuaries and rehoming organisations can be viewed HERE.

The report of the survey of individual horse owners and keepers can be found HERE.