Horse charities joined forces last week to rescue 19 abandoned Shire horses.

The herd, which included mares with foals at foot, were found fly-grazing in Bewdley, Worcestershire.

Joining together, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Blue Cross, Bransby Horses, HorseWorld, RSPCA and World Horse Welfare rounded up the group and set about finding them new homes.

Redwings received a call to the charity’s welfare line from a landowner about a large group of Shire horses fly-grazing on his land.

Notices were issued for the owner to claim the horses, but after no-one came forward, ownership was subsequently transferred to the landowner (under the Control of Horses Act 2015 (England).

The fly-grazing Shires included mares with foals at foot

They requested the help of Redwings to secure the future of the horses as he was not able to provide the care these heavy horses require.

Following a visit and assessment of the horses by Redwings’ Senior Field Officer Julie Harding, concerns were also raised for the welfare of the horses with the onset of winter and in light of the youngsters and foals being completely unhandled.

During the 15-hour rescue operation, all 19 horses were successfully removed from the site. Redwings offered a home to six horses – four mares, two of which had foals at foot, and who have all since been named after species of butterfly.

Four horses were offered homes by the RSPCA, three by HorseWorld, with Bransby Horses, Blue Cross and World Horse Welfare all offering homes to two horses each.

Commenting on the rescue operation, Redwings’ Head of Welfare and Behaviour Nic de Brauwere said: “It’s safe to say that had we not intervened the welfare of this group would have been at great risk, especially with the approaching winter.

“No provisions had been made by the former owner for their ongoing care, nor had the youngsters received any type of handling, owing to a complete lack of basic care.

“This round-up is an example of both the effectiveness of the Control of Horses Act and of successful partnership working among the welfare charities to secure the future of a group of horses, the outlook for whom would otherwise have been extremely concerning”.

To support the care of the charity’s six new arrivals, as well as all those at the Sanctuary, visit or text “HORS30 £5” to 70070 to give £5 today.