Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Monday, 28 December 2009

Appeal to re-home retired horses

Cocky the retired horse who needs a new home
Cocky, a 27-year-old grey gelding, needs to be re-homed urgently

A charity is appealing for people across the Thames Valley to re-home retired horses whose "desperate" owners are struggling in the credit crunch.

The Horse Trust has been "inundated" with requests from people to re-home horses, but has had to close its own doors due to a drop in donations.

Many of the horses may have to be put to sleep.

It is looking for homes in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

The charity, which is based in Speen, Buckinghamshire, started its re-homing scheme in October.

My only alternative is to have him put to sleep, which I really don't want to do
Ann Suaznabar, horse owner

Due to its "limited resources" it is looking to re-home animals within an approximate 50-mile (80km) radius of the sanctuary.

Ann Suaznabar, 59, from Kemsing, near Sevenoaks, Kent, is desperate to find a home for her horse.

She has had Cocky, a 27-year-old 14.3-hand grey gelding, for 10 years but says she may have to resort to euthanasia.

"I'm paying for his livery at the moment, but can't afford to do that for more than a few months.

"He's getting old now and needs a stable home. My only alternative is to have him put to sleep, which I really don't want to do.

"Cocky is a very adaptable horse and is a real gentleman. He has given a people a lot of pleasure over the years and deserves a good retirement," she added.

While he is in good health, he can no longer be ridden and needs a careful feeding regime because he has few back teeth.

Liane Crowther, Welfare & Education Officer at The Horse Trust, said: "We desperately need more homes for horses like Cocky.

"By offering a home, you will be giving a horse the opportunity for the secure and happy retirement they so truly deserve."

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