The British Horse Society has expressed its disappointment over a company encouraging people to buy a horse for Christmas.
The leading equestrian charity pointed to an email recently sent by Horsemart with the sales pitch: “Horses under £500 make great Christmas presents”.
BHS Senior Welfare Executive Lee Hackett said: “We were so disappointed to see such an irresponsible email coming from Horsemart. A horse is for life, not just for Christmas.
“Particularly reprehensible is that the horses shown in the email are all young animals designed to pull at the emotions of unsuspecting buyers. These horses would need careful handling from experienced people to develop and prepare for their future. They are most certainly not to be exploited for Christmas.
“There is a heart-breaking problem in this country – hundreds if not thousands of horses being abandoned in fields and roadsides because their owners or breeders cannot or will not care for them.”
Horses need and deserve skilled care from knowledgeable people. In this market, they may be inexpensive to buy, but they can be costly to keep.
The British Horse Society encourages anyone in a position to care properly for a new horse to contact one of the many reputable horse rescue centres who are looking to match owners with the right horse.
The National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) is a membership organisation for more than sixty horse charities and welfare organisations and details of how to rehome a horse from any of its members can be found at newc.co.uk.