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Spindles Farm rehoming effort a triumph

January 28, 2011

» Spindles Farm horse rescue

Britain's RSPCA has reported a triumphant end to its efforts to rehome 37 horses seized in what is believed to be Britain's biggest equine welfare case, finding homes for a further 80 rescued horses.

Tamsin is pictured at far left with (L-R) Twiggy and groom Claire Houghton, Jerry and groom Sam Harvey, and Hamish and groom Madeleine Schroetke.

Liz Downes with Shetland mares Rosie and Ruby.

More than 100 horses were seized from James Gray's Spindles Farm, near Amersham, in Buckinghamshire, three years ago.

The animals went into the care of several charities, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds in care and rehabilitation costs.

The outcome of the court case was resolved only last year, with delays arising through appeals against conviction and sentence.

With the case finally settled and custody awarded to the charity groups, efforts have been under way to rehome horses deemed suitable.

The British RSPCA said the public response to its appeal to rehome the 37 former Spindles Farm horses in its care had been phenomenal.

Not only had homes been found for the 37, but 80 other rescue horses had also been rehomed.

More than 1500 people applied to adopt one of the Spindles Farm horses and ponies, the RSPCA said. Many generous people also gave much-needed donations towards the animals' care.

The January 2008 operation that removed the horses from Spindles Farm was considered the biggest equine rescue operation in British history.

The horses were taken in by the RSPCA, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, World Horse Welfare and The Horse Trust.

"We had a massive response to the Amersham Horses Rehoming Appeal and we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported us," RSPCA equine rehoming officer, Sally Learoyd, said.

"Many people expressed an interest in adopting the horses, and sadly not everyone could be successful. But I would like to thank everyone who applied for their interest, time and patience.

"Some very experienced, knowledgeable people came forward and the horses are doing well in brilliant homes. The horses have had a long, difficult journey, but now have great futures ahead of them - it's wonderful to see."

Among the horses off to new lives is three-year-old Friesian mare Twiggy, chestnut Welsh Section A pony Jerry, and bay cob Hamish.

They are already happy and settled in their new home with Tamsin Conyers at her stables in Norfolk.

"They're all such lovely ponies," Conyers said. "They're not scared of people and have been superstars."

Tamsin has also adopted another Amersham pony through the RSPCA - a five-year-old coloured cob called Leo - who is also settling in well.

Another happy new owner is Liz Downes from Lincolnshire. She is thrilled that Shetland mares, 13-year-old Rosie and yearling Ruby, get on so well with her other horses and ponies.

"Rosie and Ruby are so different to big horses," she said. "They have a huge amount of personality packed into very little bodies!

"Horses have got long memories, but if you treat them with patience and kindness they soon come round."

Several of the horses from Spindles Farm at the RSPCA.



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