Feed a Tethered Horse this Winter

Founder of Remus Horse Sanctuary, Sue Burton, is appealing for support of a new appeal to buy a Bale of Hay, to help feed the many tethered horses in the South East of England.

Based on Ms Burton’s knowledge, the number of tethered horses in Essex alone is likely to exceed several hundred, with many thousands more across the South East. The charity believes there is no justification for tethering a horse, pony or donkey. Yet despite the Animal Welfare Act, many owners still choose to use this method to keep their animals.

Ms Burton said, “Tethering horses, ponies and donkeys, is in direct conflict with their very nature. These are flight animals, they’re gregarious and social interactors. Tethering denies them of their basic principles of the five freedoms.” 

A tethered horse will quickly run out of grazing within the circumference of its restraint and often have no water. The charity receives telephone calls and messages from members of the public 365 days of the year, reporting horses, ponies and donkeys that are in distress, tethered, malnourished, diseased and worse still, dead.

The small team do what they can to get food and water out to the animals in these instances and will mount rescue operations for the more severe cases.

“Our revenue, like so many other charities, has been severely affected by Covid-19. We still need help to recover the shortfall from 2020, let alone supply feed to these poor forgotten creatures.”

Although the number of Coronavirus cases in the UK is at last starting to fall, there is no respite in sight for the charity for at least another 6 months and quite possibly longer. It is, as yet, unknown whether the Sanctuary will be able to open for its first Open Day in May. All bar one event was cancelled in 2020.

“Equines may be able to live out in all weathers, but this is based on the natural native pony who is loose and can walk to keep warm, walk to find shelter, and trickle feed throughout the day. All of these rights are denied to an animal that is tethered.”

In addition to buying a bale of hay to assist the campaign, members of the public can report tethered horses to Remus and write to their MP.

The Remus website provides comprehensive information on horse welfare, tethering and the five freedoms for those who would like to find out more; whilst the charity’s online shop provides various options for feed and enrichment.

For further information, visit www.remussanctuary.org or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.

Abandoned and Tethered Horses and Ponies Need Help

Sue Burton, Founder of Remus Horse Sanctuary near Ingatestone in Essex, is appealing for urgent assistance to help save the many horses and ponies that will die needlessly this year from starvation. The charity has created an appeal page on Just Giving to help raise £2,500 towards the cost – www.justgiving.com/campaign/WinterFeedAppeal2020.

The New Year generally brings colder weather as we’re already seeing and, as well as giving top class care to the Sanctuary residents, there are many more horses and ponies out there who are not so lucky and that Remus Horse Sanctuary also need to keep an eye on.

However, at this time of year, Remus Horse Sanctuary struggles to respond to all of the reports they receive from members of the public.

Ms Burton commented, “We try and rescue as many animals as we possibly can, but we just cannot physically be everywhere we are needed – and it all comes at a great cost. This situation continues to be a huge crisis in the UK, which many people just don’t realise.”

The horse welfare crisis in the UK has been escalating for many years and the news regularly features horses that are victims of physical and mental abuse.

Remus continue to receive calls daily throughout the year. However, the cold winter months will make any situation worse. With the public’s help, the Charity’s Welfare Watch aims to deliver assistance to horses in crisis in and around Essex and the South East of England.

Keeping an animal fed over winter will give it a chance to thrive into Spring. Forage will also help keep horses and ponies warm, yet a tethered horse may not have access to this. Without the Sanctuary’s help, many animals will die a slow, painful and unnecessary death in the unrelenting cold weather.

“The public can help us by working together. Please take a look at our Welfare Watch and we will continue to do everything we can to avoid many horses and ponies from suffering. The more information you can provide on the form, the better.”

Details of the Remus Welfare Watch can be found online at: www.remussanctuary.org/horse-welfare/welfare-watch.

Additionally, the Sanctuary sustained a lot of damage during Storm Ciara, losing an entire field shelter (pictured) and felt from roofs.

The charity also offers a variety of foodstuffs online which people can buy: donate a bale of hay, bag of animal food, straw bedding etc. A week’s supply of food and hay for a tethered horse will help improve their life and wellbeing for just £25 and help get them through the cold winter months. Visit: www.remussanctuary.org/product-category/animal-treats to find out more or contact Sue Burton on telephone: 01277 356191.

Keeping our horses and ponies safe this winter

The New Year generally brings colder weather and, as well as giving top class care to our Sanctuary residents, there are many more horses and ponies out there who are not so lucky and who we also need to keep an eye on.

The horse welfare crisis in the UK has been escalating for many years and our countrywide Welfare Watch aims to deliver assistance to horses in crisis in and around Essex and the South East of England. At this time of year, we struggle to respond to all of the reports we receive from members of the public; we just cannot physically be everywhere we are needed – and it comes at great cost! Will you donate to our Winter Feed Appeal?

We’ve put together this simple five-step checklist, designed for everyone to refer to before contacting us, so that we can all work together to help more horses and ponies at this time of year. Why not print a copy and save it to hand?

  1. Keep safe yourself. This is the most important thing: first of all, horses can be unpredictable and so you must always put your own safety first, secondly if you don’t know the owner of the land, you could be trespassing.
  2. Make yourself aware of the Five Freedoms (see below) to help you decide the nature of the problem.
  3. Collect information about the horse(s) you are concerned about and fill in our online form. The form will ask you for:
    • The nature of the problem in line with the Five Freedoms
    • Supporting photographs, if possible, to demonstrate the nature and scale of the problem and so that we can prioritise the visits
    • Horse(s) details including how many, gender, breed, colour and age (if known) and also horse(s) owner’s details, if known
    • The landowner’s details, if known
    • The location of the horses
    • Your contact details
  4. If it is an emergency situation, contact the RSPCA immediately on 0300 1234 999.
  5. If it is safe to do so, take the horse(s) some hay and water until further help is sought.

The Five Freedoms

There are many reasons why a horse may be distressed or need assistance. We’ve chosen to align our Welfare Watch with the ‘Five Freedoms’ identified by The Animal Welfare Act 2006, which enshrines the animal owner’s ‘Duty of Care’ in British Law:

  • Freedom from hunger or thirst – the animal has little or no access to fresh water and/or food.
  • Freedom from discomfort – the animal does not have somewhere to lie down or gain shelter or is exposed to extreme weather conditions.
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease – the animal clearly shows disease, an untreated injury or perhaps severely overgrown hooves.
  • Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour – the animal is tethered incorrectly and/or does not have sufficient space or proper facilities and living conditions.
  • Freedom from fear and distress – abandoned animals, those subject to dog attacks, low flying aircraft, or similar, or those suffering from any of the above.

Remember, it is really important that you send us photographs of the horses, ponies or donkeys in need so that we can prioritise our visits and their care.

Download the form here.

Statement from Leading Horse Charity on UK Welfare Crisis

Following the recent television coverage of the horse welfare crisis in this country, Sue Burton, Founder of Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex, has made the following statement:

“The crisis in this country continues to deepen and Remus remains concerned re the apathy and red tape that seems to get in the way of helping them. There needs to be new updated legislation that is enforceable for all sectors of the community.

“Horses are suffering dying and being thrown out to take their chances on the busy roads. Last month two youngsters were loose in Aveley. One was killed and two were killed in Tilbury and we rescued a foal recently at a cost of over £1000 to the Sanctuary for specialist vets with tranquilliser dart equipment.

“The Government need to see horse welfare as a bigger priority and make laws adequate and enforceable and must debate tethering of horses. It seems awful that in a world where we can send men to the moon that we can allow gregarious sentient flight animals to be chained by their necks to the ground.”

Sadly, the horse charity is unable to open its gates to the public for the planned Open Day in May as the ground underfoot is still too unstable for people to drive and walk on. The first Open Day of the season, therefore, will be Sunday 3 June.

The newest rescue at the Sanctuary [Pictured top left] is Jake. He was dumped behind Buttsbury Church in Essex on a Sunday evening in March and was roaming loose for some days with no fencing between him and the busy road and the swollen river.

Sue Burton said, “He is only a baby and when he arrived he was terrified! He was skinny and crawling with lice and infested with worms but such a sweetie. Because he is so feral, as are so many who are dumped now – more of the foals born to die, and indeed three have died on Essex roads in the last month, it meant bringing in some experts to travel and dart him early one morning.

“We are so pleased that we were able to save him before he became another statistic. He had a very frightening few days before and on arrival, so we left him in a warm stable with food and water and a deep bed to settle down and relax.”

Another resident at the Sanctuary requiring special attention current is Sparkey, a 10-year-old Welsh pony that arrived in 2014 with terrible laminitis. He has recently undergone a serious operation to address problems with his mouth, teeth and nostrils, with both Diastema and Periodontal Disease.

Since the surgery, Sparkey is doing very well – he is having his sinuses flushed every day and is now on oral antibiotics with the vet visiting daily to check his dental plug is still in position. He is happy and enjoying himself out in the paddock and the vets are very pleased with his progress.

Says Sue, “We spent £2000 on Sparkey before the operation and subsequently a further £3000, including aftercare, but we have such a happy pony who should be able to enjoy the rest of his life now.

“We were hoping to introduce Jake and help raise sponsorship for Sparkey at our first Open Day in May. It’s a crying shame that we’ve had to cancel it until June.”

Donations for the rescued foal and Sparkey can be made via a number of ways and details can be found on the website.

For further information, visit www.remussanctuary.org or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.

The Worsening Plight of Horse Welfare in the UK

Sue Burton, founder of Remus Horse Sanctuary in Essex, has been spending time meeting with other horse welfare groups and with Brentwood Borough Council and Thurrock Council  to discuss the escalating problems of horse welfare in the area, including pregnant, tethered mares having to give birth on chains.

Sue Burton and her colleagues witnessed the now common-place scenes of horses left in the most appalling conditions. Of the three in the accompanying picture, two could walk off to the dry grassy area beyond, whereas the other was tethered – it has access to hay but no dry area in which to lay. Hundreds of horses literally live in quagmires and their lives are worthless – so many would be better off not being born into it.

Sue said “we probably saw over 100 horses and just looking into their eyes turns my stomach every time, but I can’t just walk away. These horses aren’t designed for this sort of life. Yes they cope with it as we would cope with being in a prison, but these animals should be roaming flight animals with a gregarious nature who can interact and mutually groom their herd members – not spend their life tied by their necks to the ground.”

Sue also reports that some of these same horses were heavily pregnant and giving birth on chains. She ponders if this “can really be acceptable in this day and age when we have the ability to send men to the moon but we can let innocent living creatures suffer like this? There is something very wrong in our society.”

The horse welfare crisis in this country is getting worse and the scenes witnessed are replicated the length and breadth of the country. There can be no excuse for turning a blind eye and allowing this suffering to continue. Horses on tethering chains with no food, no water, no access to the five freedoms and no hope in their sad eyes.

The ‘five needs’ are a fundamental part of The Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the animal owner’s ‘Duty of Care’ in British Law.  The five needs are:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst.
  2. Freedom from discomfort.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
  4. Freedom to express normal behavior.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress.

Sue has asked that people keep a close eye on horses in their area and report any that they are concerned about. That horse owners take responsibility for their horses and ensure they have all they need in this inclement weather. Anyone wishing to help Remus in their work can do so by making a donation to the Sanctuary at Little Farm, Buttsbury, Nr Ingatestone, Essex CM4 9NZ or by telephoning: 01277 356191.

For further information or to participate in the Remus Welfare Watch scheme, browse www.remussanctuary.org or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.  Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Winter Feed Appeal can do so via www.justgiving.com/rmhs.

7,000 Horses Under Threat

With over 7,000 horses currently under threat – how you can help

Concerns continue to rise over the escalating horse welfare crisis in the UK. Many thousands of horses  around the country are in need of homes or shelter. This post contains some graphic images which demonstrate the all too real impact of this issue.

Why is this? Problems with indiscriminate horse breeding and the current economic climate mean that many people have horses that they can’t afford to feed or shelter – or pay for veterinary care. All horse charities have seen an increase in horses found straying on roads, being abandoned at livery yards, or dumped on land, whether council or private.

  • In Kent, for example, over the first couple of months of 2016. animal charities saw a spate of dumped horses – including 25 that were dead, dying or in really poor condition.
  • In 2014 alone, Swansea council received 664 complaints relating to horses and seized 225 animals, at a cost estimates at £74,000. And between 2012 and 2014, the authority destroyed 224 horses.
  • 33 years after the Mardyke Plains disaster (see below), we see that the RSPCA is allowing a number of horses stranded thigh-deep in water near Wellingborough embankment to remain, despite already losing one in January. Situations like this need to be addressed before the animals die.
  • In 1983, we saw 13 horses die as a result of being cut-off on Rainham Marshes as the plains flooded, just one of the reasons why Remus was founded. Every year since we battle with Thurrock Council to avoid this same scenario re-occurring on the Mardyke.

Daily alerts of dead, dumped horses and foals across the country is a common occurrence. Many believed to be the responsibility of travelers.

Last year, The Control of Horses Act 2015 gave landowners more control over what they could do with horses illegally placed on their land, called fly-grazing, by irresponsible owners. They now have the right to seize control of the horse after four days, and it can be sold or given to a charity, such as Remus. Whilst this has enabled landowners who don’t want fly-grazed horses on their land to act to remove them, many corporate landowners don’t care and aren’t prepared to pay to have them moved, so thousands of horses are not protected by this Act.

While this is good news for the horses, which are often left unchecked on land, with no shelter from the elements, it does mean that charities will be under even more pressure to care for them, and that all costs money, rescuing one horse can cost up to £1,500, which does not allow for the animal’s ongoing care, upkeep or vet bills should he become ill.

Here at Remus Horse Sanctuary, we have 10 staff to care for our animals, plus a band of wonderful volunteers, whose tireless efforts make such a big difference to what we can do as a Sanctuary.

Although we take in any horse that needs care, we have particular expertise in looking after veteran animals.  Horses can live well into their thirties, in fact we’ve been home to three of the oldest horses in the world, and we ensure that however badly they have been treated before they come to us, all our  residents are well-fed, happy and pain free – and enjoying life.

Many of our animals are available for Sponsorship for only £2 a month by Standing Order, or £25 a year. Sponsorship is of enormous help to us, it allows us to care for the animals at the Sanctuary and helps  fund our important welfare work in the wider community. Click here to find out more about our Sponsorship Scheme.

Please help us tackle this growing crisis – every donation can really make a difference – go to https://www.remussanctuary.org/donate/ and please, if you can, donate whatever you can, even if its just £5 a month via JustGiving or PayPal.

One of the Lucky Ones

Do you remember little Charlie, who is a 7 month-old colt, cruelly wrenched from his mum when his owners simply had no use for him! An hour later, he arrived at Remus Horse Sanctuary to start his new life. Charlie is one of the lucky ones!

We can only imagine what Charlie has been through in his young, short life. We can’t heal the mental scars, but we can, with your help, give him love, care, attention and a safe place to live for life, without cruelty and without placing any demands on him.

We are dealing with hundreds of horses in dire conditions, and are constantly called upon to help more and more innocent creatures who, through no fault of their own, are caught up in this ever-widening horse welfare crisis. There is no let up, which is increasingly straining the resources of the Sanctuary.

It Starts With You

As the winter weather continues, many horses across the county (and beyond) will stand tethered to the ground without access to food, water, attention or care, let alone love. Many will die.

Please, help us to give a future to Charlie and to help get food and water to the hundreds of other horses and ponies out there, who are less fortunate.  Charlie is now out of isolation and making friends with the others animals, but it’s a slow process to win back his trust.

Can you make a donation to help us to help Charlie and others like him and then share our plight with your friends and family, co-workers and clubs?

Our resources are stretched almost to breaking point, we are not yet out of the mire and we need both financial assistance and more volunteers to help fundraise on our behalf. Can you help us please? It really does ‘start with you‘.


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