June 3, 2024 | Animal Stories

Ripley horses rehomed

Ripley horses rehomed

Back in the Spring of 2019 we shared how our member World Horse Welfare was part of a large, multi- agency case dating back to January 2019 when police gained access to a farm in Ripley, Surrey by warrant.

Concern around the state of the animals at the farm had been growing but access had been denied by the owners and there was little visibility from the boundaries of the property. Those animals that were visible were cause for concern, but no one was prepared for what the charity, the vets and other welfare agencies found.

Over 200 animals including horses, dogs, alpacas, goats and ducks were found in appalling conditions. A total of 131 horses and donkeys were discovered on site, with many in dark, smelly and dirty barns, with 2-3ft of faeces under foot. Others were outside in muddy areas littered with hazards. Sadly, two of the ponies had to be euthanised on site due to the extent of their suffering but that still left 129 to rescue.

Tony Tyler, World Horse Welfare’s Deputy Chief Executive, said: “This was a particularly long-running and complex situation and as access to the site had been refused, no one knew what to expect. The large number of animals involved and the state they were being kept in was shocking to the officers attending but all the agencies involved worked together incredibly well. We were able to pool resources and concentrate on different agencies’ areas of expertise, meaning that animals could be taken off site quickly and start receiving proper care.”

Cases such as this one are logistically challenging, not least finding space for such a large number of animals all at once. Working alongside the RSPCA, Redwings, The Horse Trust, The Donkey Sanctuary and Bransby Horses, World Horse Welfare was able to take 45 of the ponies with the others being divided up between the other agencies. To add to the burden, a further twenty foals were born to the rescued mares in the coming months.

Although now safe, that winter’s day five years ago was just the beginning of the ponies’ very long road to recovery and rehoming. The legal case against the owners was drawn-out and took many months before finally ending last summer. During this time, the horses in World Horse Welfare’s care have been nursed back to health but the work to prepare them for rehoming could not start until the case concluded. This meant that the ponies were with the charity for almost two years before the process could begin, making the Ripley rescue a costly case indeed.

Thanks to the years of care and hard work by World Horse Welfare’s teams, we are delighted that all of the horses from this case have now found loving new homes through their rehoming programme.

Your donations help rescue and rehome animals like these. During these difficult times your support is vital. Thank you.