Princess Anne has rehomed a horse named Annie, who has been in the care of British charity World Horse Welfare.
“I wanted a reliable horse that I could get on and off easily,” said the Princess Royal, who indicated Annie would be a useful mount to help her herd sheep and cattle.
“Annie has a good temperament and I thought it was silly to look for something else when I’ve got the space here to rehome her.
“If you’ve got room then you can do an awful lot of good by rehoming.
“Sadly, we read about the many horses that World Horse Welfare has rescued as part of the horse crisis at the moment, but we don’t hear about what happens next.
“It’s very disappointing to hear that the charity is finding it so difficult to rehome horses when people could rehome so easily, and make space for others that need help.”
She continued: “Rehoming from a charity may be the best way of finding a horse because you know so much more about the animal you are getting. You get told about their quirks, how easy the horse is to manage, their physical limitations, if any, and what their needs are.
“All of this is important information when getting a horse that you rarely get when buying one.”
The adoption is a perfect kickstart to World Horse Welfare’s rehoming campaign, which comes in the midst of a growing horse crisis in Britain. Key horse charities across Britain estimate 7000 horses are at risk of abandonment or neglect.
The rehoming campaign comes after a dramatic 32 percent drop in rehoming figures. At the same time, the charity has taken in 23 percent more horses than in 2012.
The charity says there are too many horses and not enough homes.
It says horses continue to be bred on a large scale despite their decreasing value. The remnants of an economic crisis continue to affect households all over Britain and horses are getting left out in the cold, it says.
With another harsh winter on its way, thousands of horses left abandoned or neglected will leave charities physically unable to cope.
Charities including World Horse Welfare, RSPCA, Blue Cross, British Horse Society, HorseWorld and Redwings have been asking for government and public help for almost a year. The first warning came as charities asked what would happen to the 6000 horses at risk of being abandoned or neglected if charities did not have the space to take them in. The second warning came six months later, when there were 7000 at risk and the number of horses in need of good homes continues to increase in the UK and Wales.
World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers said Princess Anne had shown outstanding support by rehoming Annie.
“Our Rescue and Rehoming Centres are full to bursting – and there are thousands more horses who need our help. By rehoming Annie, our president is making space for another horse to get the care it needs and we urge other members of the public who can, to do the same before winter sets in.
“Everyone thinks of rehoming a dog or a cat from a rescue centre; it should be the same with horses. People are still buying horses when rehoming from a charity has so many advantages.
“If you can provide a good home for a horse, please come visit us or look at the horses available on our website. We are calling for the public to help, because without the public we simply will not be able to cope with this horse crisis alone.”
Princes Anne said: “I hope more people at least find out what is involved by calling the charity or visiting them because rehoming a horse is not as difficult as you think, especially with the degree of knowledge that World Horse Welfare has and the detail that the charity knows about each horse’s history.
“My advice to someone looking for a new horse is to go to the charity and see what is available.
“If you are lucky enough to find the right horse then you will get a lot of help with the animal. That help is always there no matter what happens. And of course if it isn’t working for you, you won’t have all the aggro of looking for someone to take your horse, because with rehoming you have not only the expertise of the charity to try to make it work, but if it doesn’t the charity will take the horse back into its care. It is very reassuring to know that this backup is there.
“I hope Annie enjoys it here with me. We will be doing some hacking and she will be helping me herd the sheep and cattle. I’m just really glad World Horse Welfare didn’t find somebody else for her!”