Rescuing and re-homing equines since 1974

Welfare Concerns

We receive lots of calls from members of the public regarding horses they’re concerned about. Unfortunately as a charity we have no legal powers so are unable to seize any horse in need without Police assistance. We are always available to offer advice regarding situations you come across, however to report a horse which you feel needs immediate assistance you should contact one of the following organisations:


Cruelty line:
0300 1234 999
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

World Horse Welfare

Freephone Welfare hotline:
03000 3336000
8am – 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

The British Horse Society

02476 840571 / 02476 840574
Genuine emergencies: 02476 840570

In an emergency

If there are loose horses on the road/highway, please dial 999 and inform the police immediately, giving the road number and location. The Police and Local Authority inspectors, unlike other Welfare Organisations, have a legal power of enforcement.

When reporting a Welfare Concern please provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • The cause of your concern. (e.g. lameness, severely undernourished, over-ridden, unacceptable living conditions, lame, very thin, open wound above knee on near foreleg, bald patch on near shoulder etc.). Include the time and date you saw the animal.
  • A description of the horse/horses with all-possible detail; colour, sex, approximate age and height, distinguishing marks etc.
  • Information about the horses’ owners or alternatively details of the owner of the land on which the horse is kept.
  • A description of the location – field, buildings, road, any landmarks, so that it will be easy to find. (Please remember that any Welfare Officer attending may not know the area particularly well so the more information given the easier the location will be to find.

If you need help assessing whether a horse you’ve seen is too thin you can use this chart.

Horses are rated on a body scale from 0 – 5


If you require assistance locating a Vet please follow this link to the RCVS ‘Find a Vet’ search engine.


We receive lots of complaints regarding tethered horses and although we disagree with tethering as it restricts the animal’s freedom and puts the animal at risk of becoming tangled up in the tether, causing injury and distress or in extreme cases, death, it is unfortunately still legal. Of the estimated 1.35 million horses and ponies in England and Wales an estimated 2% are tethered which equals 27, 000. That’s a lot of horses who are potentially suffering! If you see a tethered horse and have concerns for it’s health you should contact one of the organisations at the top of the page.

To learn more and find out how you can help to stop tethering please visit