Mare and Foal Sanctuary launch Christmas appeal


The Mare and Foal Sanctuary has launched its Christmas appeal to highlight what a challenging time it is not just at the sanctuary, but for the wider equine community too as the cost-of-living crisis continues to have an impact.

The charity is experiencing an increase in the number of calls for help from horse owners who are finding it hard to cope and from members of the public worried about horses in their area. Their Welfare Outreach team has been involved with 61 new welfare cases so far this year involving over 553 equines. The number of horses being returned by some of their Sanctuary at Home carers is also increasing and they are rehoming fewer horses than in previous years as people aren’t sure whether they can afford to take them on. As a result, their sanctuaries are over capacity as we head into winter.  

Thoroughbred Riley (feature image) is just one of the many horses helped by the Welfare Outreach team this year. She was severely underweight and living in unsuitable conditions when Welfare Advisor, Leah, was first called out to help. Leah worked with everyone involved to ensure a good welfare outcome for Riley and the charity was able to make room and take her in permanently.  

Riley was too weak to travel. To avoid a long journey, she was moved quickly to a nearby RSPCA holding centre. Here she was treated by a vet for cellulitis (a deep infection under the skin), colic symptoms and given a course of antibiotics. This is where her recovery began. 


A few weeks later, Riley was strong enough to travel to the Mare and Foal Sanctuary. She settled in quickly, benefiting from the care of specialist grooms at the charity’s Beech Trees Veterinary and Welfare Assessment Centre. Riley’s body condition score was confirmed as 1.5 on arrival. This is severely underweight. The outline of her ribs and back bone were visible. She also had large scabs across her legs and muzzle that needed treatment. Following another full veterinary assessment, dietary plan and essential dental work Riley has gained weight. She is now much stronger and healthier.  

Samanatha Asher, Yard Manager at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary, says: “Riley is a dream on the yard. She is very sweet, and we’ve been delighted to see her grow in strength and confidence each day. We can also see how much she enjoys living as part of a small herd and making friends with other horses. Thankfully, she is now recovering well and getting all the care she needs with lots of extra love from our Sanctuary Care team.” 

There are still large numbers of horses and ponies out there who are being abused, neglected or abandoned. You can support the work of the Mare and Foal Sanctuary and help to provide sanctuary for life to horses and ponies like Riley by donating to their Christmas appeal  

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