A terrible tale, with a happy ending - and a call for help
Half of all welfare cases dealt with by the BHS originate from the North of England, demonstrating just how serious the problems in the North of England really are.
Emaciated ponies are unfortunately common place and our Welfare Officers need to be made of stern stuff in order to cope with the inevitable strain on emotions. We are very lucky to have a superb team in place and they are an invaluable asset to us.
Year on year, the autumn market floods with cheap foals - coloured cob colts in particular are virtually worthless. Four or five months down the line, unhandled, struggling with a worm burden and without supplementary food, these youngsters can deteriorate rapidly and often die. The RSPCA has taken in more than 50 ponies across County Durham alone since December 2016.
One particular case, however, has captured everyone's heart. A large group, fly-grazing, were giving us all cause for concern and despite efforts to resolve the situation, ponies began to die.
The decision was make to seize the group because all were at great risk. The round-up went well, but thanks to a last minute decision to make a final sweep of the field by the RSPCA's Chief Inspector Mark Gent, a grim discovery was made. Almost invisible in a sea of mud Mark found what looked like the remains of a dead youngster.
The pictures go some way to show the horror of the situation - and the subsequent rescue - which meant 'Noggin the Nog' will live to fight another day. You will no doubt see and hear more of Noggin in the weeks and months to come, but his case draws attention to yet another serious problem.
The need for foster homes
Ugly ducklings need time to grow into swans but time is expensive for any charity and experienced horse owners with a spare slot on their yard for a foster foal, yearling or two year old are thin on the ground.
The benefits of running youngsters with a companion of the same age are without question and we recognise that temporary fostering involves generosity and commitment, so we are appealing to members with an altruistic streak for their help.
Foster homes are needed across the UK. If you feel able to help, or can make a donation, please contact Wendy Suddes who can direct you to the right person.