THE RSPCA is urgently calling for the support of all horse lovers through its new Stables Sponsorship scheme.

Supporters of the new scheme can help rescue cases close to home, including four-year-old Prince, who came into the care of RSPCA Lockwood Centre for Horses, Ponies and Donkeys in Witley last winter, after he was found abandoned.

As England and Wales’ largest animal welfare charity, the RSPCA has seen an enormous increase in the number of horses coming into its care, with almost three a day being rescued.

The charity is currently looking after more than 850 horses, donkeys and ponies and has launched Stables Sponsorship, asking horse lovers to help the RSPCA care for rescued equines until they are ready for rehoming.

Prince was suffering with a leg injury that was so severe, it exposed parts of his tendon. Understandably, he was very unsure of people, but the grooms at Lockwood have worked tirelessly to rehabilitate him, treat his injury, and help him to trust people again. Thankfully, he is now healed and is ready to find a new home.

Cathy Hyde, who leads a team of specially trained equine inspectors at the RSPCA, said: “For several years now we as a charity have been picking up the pieces of the equine crisis, with our inspectors being called out to sick, injured, neglected or cruelly treated horses every single day.

“And despite our best efforts the crisis is not getting any better. Last year we took in 979 horses, which was a 55 per cent increase on the year before.

“For many of the horses, being rescued is just the beginning of a long road to recovery, and it can take many months for us to rehabilitate them to a point where they can be re-homed.

“The time and work during those months is absolutely essential but extremely costly, and we now find ourselves with over 850 horses in our care, so we desperately need the public’s help.

“Those who re-home a horse from us are doing something very special, but for those who aren’t in a position to do so, this new scheme provides a unique opportunity to make a huge difference too.”

Last year, the charity’s national call centre received more than 30,000 calls about horses in need of help and more than 500 rescue cases have been cared for in the RSPCA’s equine centres this year.

Supporters of the new scheme can help horses like Prince by giving £10 per month, which will help provide RSPCA equine centres with everything from shavings and straw for the horse’s bedding to feed and hay, grooming brushes, rugs and veterinary treatment for those who are rescued from the most appalling conditions by charity inspectors.

Sponsors will receive quarterly news and updates about some of the horses who have been taken into RSPCA care and looked after in the stables along with letters from the staff at the equine centres with updates on the horses they have helped.

• To sign up call 0300 123 0346 or visit www.