Galway based charity Forgotten Horses Ireland CHY20409 is an organisation dedicated to the care and welfare of feral and abandoned horses in commonage and remote areas in Ireland. Formed in March 2012 and managed solely on a volunteer basis, the charity works proactively on a particular commonage area in Galway County where a large number of abandoned horses have died.
Speaking about the development of the charity in its first year, founder Eileen Naughton commented, ‘While the issue of abandoned horses has received press coverage in recent years, the focus is often on urban areas. Forgotten Horses Ireland is raising awareness of the extent of the problem in rural areas’.
She further added, ‘A 2012 census of the horses at a particular Galway commonage of approximately 2,400 acres documented 126 horses with a number of mares in foal. The number has since risen to over 150 horses’. Volunteers from the charity will undertake an annual census in May 2013.
The charity faces many difficulties in caring for these horses, in particular, the effect of a colder than average spring weather and delayed grass growth. Funding and volunteers are required to provide hay and feed to the animals as well medical care, farriers and transport to sanctuaries..
The rise of unwanted equines in Ireland has numerous factors. The abandoned and feral horses in various areas throughout the country are a consequence of the economic recession as owners can no longer afford to keep these animals. Irresponsible breeding practices have also exacerbated the problem. The media focus on the issue of abandoned horses during the severe winter months of 2010 briefly highlighted the issue of in rural areas. Forgotten Horses Ireland is trying to raise the profile of the issue again in order to tackle the problem and to offer unwanted horses a level of care that will prevent the large scale deaths of previous years.