Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched an urgent appeal after having to spend an extra £100,000 on hay this winter.

The charity has faced a hay shortage due to the extreme wet weather conditions. After heavy rain and flooding at Christmas, followed by recent snow and subsequent thaw, it has had to use more of its hay supplies than usual to ensure its horses and ponies have been kept well fed.

Yields from the sanctuary’s own harvest last year were down 30% due to the very wet start to the growing season, and a national hay shortage has pushed up prices by as much as 40% from some suppliers.

The extra spend has put further pressure on the charity’s already tightened budgets which have been “significantly impacted” by the coronavirus lockdowns.

“With so many horses to look after on a daily basis, we plan our supplies carefully for each winter, but the recent incredibly poor weather, lower yields and increasing prices have created a perfect storm where we find ourselves appealing for extra support,” said Rachel Angell, Head of Norfolk Equine Operations.

“Conditions have been particularly difficult at our Norfolk sanctuary sites where the clay soil has left fields waterlogged for longer, delaying the arrival of the spring grass and forcing us to use more hay to make sure our horses stay healthy.

“Luckily we were able to find a supplier who could provide the right quantity and quality of hay but, with the pandemic having placed significant pressure on our budgets, we urge anyone who can to consider a donation to ensure we can purchase any further hay we may need and continue to provide specialist care for our rescued horses, now and into the future.”

To donate to Redwing’s hay appeal, call 01508 481000 or click here to be taken to their JustGiving page.