Massive over-breeding in recent years has fuelled an already saturated market and we are experiencing a bizarre period in history where the cost of providing a horse or pony with a passport, microchip and all-important, castration, often far exceeds the value of the animal.
Welfare issues can – and indeed have – arisen with increasingly high numbers of colts and stallions being seen. Entire animals are often confined, with little or no opportunity to socialise, graze and exhibit normal behaviour.
Sadly, there are also irresponsible owners who simply abandon these ponies, because of their negligible value, leaving local authorities, the animal charities and even well-meaning members of the public with little or no horse experience, to deal with them.
The British Horse Society in the North region has been actively working with local authorities, the RSPCA and vets to look at ways of proactively reducing the number of colts and stallions.
To this end, various schemes are in existence, depending upon the county, in order to provide owners with an affordable castration, passport and microchipping service.
Richard Phillips of Swale Vets in Richmond, Sally Booth from the Robson and Prescott practice in Morpeth, Graham Russ and his team at Oaklands Veterinary Centre in Yarm and Nicola Mason of The Durham Equine Practice, have been incredibly supportive – helping to secure a potentially better future for literally hundreds of horses and ponies in the last 24 months.
Pictured here recently is Sally Booth, kneeling to castrate the notorious four-year-old Miniature Shetland ‘One Eyed Willy’ who will hopefully no longer be wreaking havoc as a result of too much testosterone in his bloodstream!
Please contact Wendy or Barbi in the Regional Office with regard to a scheme that may be running near you.