The RSPCA has launched a campaign to find homes for a record number of abused, neglected and abandoned horses and ponies.

Charities, including the RSPCA, are in the grip of an equine crisis as falling horse prices over the past five years, combined with rising feed and care costs, have led to thousands of horses being neglected, dumped and in some cases left starving to death.

Alarming RSPCA figures from the past five years show:

● The number of equines rescued by the RSPCA in the north has more than doubled

● The RSPCA received almost 20 calls a day last year from the people in the North concerned about equine welfare

● For every horse in one of the RSPCA centres there are seven waiting for a place

● Rehoming rate has doubled but the RSPCA still have 900 neglected, abused and abandoned horses in their care across England and Wales

RSPCA chief inspector Cathy Hyde, who heads a specialist team of equine officers, said: “Over the past five years there has been a marked and very worrying increase in equine neglect and abuse. This is witnessed on a daily basis by frontline staff. In 2009 we were removing on average two horses a day. What is most shocking is that we are now removing on average five horses a day.

“This disturbing trend in neglect seems to be affecting equines more than any other animal that we deal with.”

She added that inspectors are seeing more large groups of horses which aren’t even being given the very basics - food and water.

Chief inspector Hyde said: “I remember a major issue in Wales in 2013, where we dealt with a group of 300 sick and neglected horses and ponies. It was horrendous, something that I will not easily forget and I fear we will have to deal with something similar again in the future.”

The Homes for Horses campaign is being launched to find loving homes for hundreds of RSPCA rescue horse and ponies.

A series of open days is being held at RSPCA centres to showcase our rescue horses and ponies, or to find out more about rehoming visit To support the campaign text HORSE to 70111 to give £3