Two Andalusian horses have been given a new chance in life thanks to The Mare and Foal Sanctuary. The pair were discovered in June 2022 in a “shocking” state, severely underweight and suffering from sores and lice.

The pair, named Hugo and Gabriel, were taken in by the charity, nursed back to health and now have a lifelong home under their care.

“Our Welfare Outreach team worked hard to secure the best outcome for Hugo and Gabriel with assistance from the RSPCA to help us intervene as their welfare situation worsened,” said Rosy Lewis, Sanctuary Care Lead at The Mare and Foal Sanctuary. “The pair were in urgent need of sanctuary. They were both malnourished. Hugo had scarring and sores across his body, particularly over his prominent pelvic bones, stifle, elbow and shoulder, but also over his ribs. All four of his hooves were overgrown and needed treatment. He was very nervous whenever we needed to handle him. Gabriel was even more nervous than Hugo. In particular, he was extremely reluctant to have his limbs handled. His hooves were overgrown and chipped in places. His mane was very matted. Gabriel was also riddled with lice.

“We often see complicated welfare situations, but this was a shocking case. Hugo and Gabriel’s situation shows that when an owner’s personal circumstances change unexpectedly caring for equines can become an overwhelming task. This is why we exist.”

Hugo and Gabriel have flourished under the care of the charity

The charity believes that the rise in the cost of living is having a profound effect on the welfare of horses and ponies across the country.

“It’s a myth that all horse owners are financially well off,” Rosie said. “We know that many are struggling at the moment and are sacrificing their own wellbeing to continue to care for their horses. Owners who are in this precarious position are the most at risk of unintentionally neglecting the welfare of their animals and themselves. Costs are skyrocketing. We know that our own costs for feed and everyday welfare alone have gone up considerably.”

The sanctuary is currently at capacity and their Welfare Outreach team are dealing with a high number of ongoing cases to help support struggling owners. At the end of March, they were handling ongoing outreach cases involving 111 equines in the South West region. Last year, the charity was approached to find space for 89 equines but only had capacity for 30.

“This spring we need to rehome the horses that are ready to make space for new arrivals,” Rosy added. “Our Welfare Outreach and Sanctuary Care teams are working hard through a difficult time to achieve this, but we need help from our incredible supporters so we can continue to provide lifelong care for horses like Hugo and Gabriel.”

To support the work of The Mare and Foal Sanctuary, you can donate via the sanctuary’s website or by calling their Supporter Services team on 01626882660 Monday to Friday between 9am-and 4pm.

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