Blue Cross is warning of the dangers of purchasing a horse online after our research revealed safety concerns – especially for inexperienced and first time owners.
We looked at the numbers and types of horses for sale on six equine classified advertising websites and a number of groups on Facebook in the UK over a period of 12 weeks from August to November 2017. Out of more than 3,000 horses found for sale, 76% of all adverts described a riding horse or pony.
However three out of ten adverts (28%) described horses that needed work, were young and inexperienced or displayed behavioural problems, raising concerns about potential safety risks – especially for first time or inexperienced owners.
Kerry Taylor, Education Manager at Blue Cross, said: “Although this might not cause a problem for an experienced, knowledgeable home it could make it hard to assess the horse accurately in a short period of time when looking to buy.
“This could lead to buyers getting a horse that is unsuitable for them, raising concerns about the future welfare of such animals and potential safety risks for the new owners.”
One owner told Blue Cross how they bought a Irish Draught X described as easy to handle online. Despite taking things slowly with the horse over the next six months, the horse was difficult to control and would throw his rider off.
Some of the adverts researched by Blue Cross also raised serious welfare concerns. One horse was advertised as suitable as a companion or broodmare (a mare used for breeding) was described as permanently lame with a previously broken pelvis rendering her unrideable. However, the advert went on to say that ‘it doesn’t impact on her ability to be bred from and she foaled fine this year with no assistance.’
Kerry added: “This is a grave welfare concern and an example of passive promotion of indiscriminate breeding. In no capacity is it acceptable to advertise a severely injured animal for sale, let alone breeding purposes.
“We would always urge people to consider rehoming a horse from a welfare charity like Blue Cross who can provide expert advice on suitable horses rather than buying online where possible – as with any other animal. As our research shows, you may not know the full history of the horse you are taking on which could prove detrimental and potentially dangerous to you and the horse.”
Download and read our full Hold your horses report below.