Emaciated horses go from strength to strength and are ready to be rehomed from Penny Farm in Blackpool


As part of our Rehome a Horse Month,we tell the story of the two stallions that came into our care as part of a welfare case that was just so horrific; the owner had to be prosecuted.

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Our Rehome a Horse Month takes place throughout April across the country and gives the public a chance to offer a loving home to horses that have had a bad start in life - and in turn makes space for the ones in desperate need of our help.

There are close to 7,000 horses in need of rescuing or new homes. That’s why we are asking for support from the public now.

One of our Field Officers, Rachel Andrews was so concerned about a yard in Winsford, Cheshire that she alerted the RSPCA, and together the charities proceeded with a visit to the premises along with the police and a local vet. This is where the two stallions were found.

On arrival the vet decided that due to the poor condition that a group of 10 horses were being kept in, they were to be removed from the site immediately and taken to Penny Farm in Blackpool.

Once the horses were safely at our farm, the long term neglect that the group had suffered became apparent.

Rachel Andrews said: “The horses had very poor hooves that were extremely cracked, all had a lice infestation, and many were extremely emaciated.”

Toby on arrival to World Horse Welfare

The vet that was called in from Oakhill Veterinary Centre, David Catlow speaks about the state the horses were in and the steps taken to nurse them back to health.

He says: “When these horses came in we gave them a thorough health check. We needed to discover whether they were actually ill or if it was malnourishment. We treated and identified all the problems that the horses came in with such as the lice infestation or parasite infection; because this can cause anaemia and make them run down.”

The vet continues: “This particular case is typical of what we are seeing more of at the moment – groups of semi feral horses turned out together and abandoned in dreadful conditions, where stallions and mares are allowed to run together, and the problem of indiscriminate breeding causing numbers to expand rapidly.

“Together with the treatment of common problems and illness we can start to build the horse’s normal health back up and see their conditions improving slowly. It is a case of a little at a time, with a good balanced diet and some TLC, but it’s a long process that takes months.”

Toby and Tro were part of this unimaginable situation. When they were found that day, they looked extremely poor with a bleak future ahead of them. The boys were frightened and nervous, left to fend for themselves in dirty, unsafe conditions – living like no animal should have to.

Both in their teens at 15 and 17, Toby and Tro were gelded and eventually backed; slowly they started to trust people again. 

Thoroughbred Toby (above), 14hh, and now an 18-year-old gelding is looking for a new home as a hack to an experienced and confident rider. He is hacking around the farm daily and is reliant on the roads, Toby is happy to be ridden with mares but cannot be turned out with or near mares due to him only be gelded last year; this will get better with time. He is a lovely natured pony with so much love to give and also good with both vet and farrier.

Thoroughbred cross Tro (below) is a 14hh skewbald gelding with a lovely nature, who loves a fuss. He has now been backed and is ready to go to a new home as a hack, with all the same qualities as his friend Toby.

The owner of these two geldings was banned from keeping animals for life and his horses were confiscated and signed over to us shortly after.Tro on arrival at World Horse Welfare

Rachel Andrews is delighted at Toby and Tro’s progress since having come into our care:

“It’s great to see the horses improve. When we found them on that day they looked extremely poor but with combined work we have enabled them to have a fresh start. Without the work of the charities involved and the fact that the public alert us to these sorts of issues, these horses would have ended up in a really bad way.”

Toby and Tro are great examples of the work that we do on a daily basis.

Please give one of our neglected horses the loving home that they deserve here.