Fight to find new home for horse rescue centre

Horse Rescue 1 SUS-150218-125533001
Horse Rescue 1 SUS-150218-125533001

A horse rescue centre at Beckley is desperate for a new base after being forced to leave its Gate Farm home.

Free Rein Rescue Centre, at Horseshoe Lane, was set up by Claire Gerrard seven years ago and plays a vital role in caring for abandoned and mistreated horses and ponies.

But now the owner of the land wants to sell and Claire says she has been given just two weeks to move out,

The centre cares for up to 40 horses at any one time and is currently looking after 15.

Claire said: “It is an awful situation and we don’t know what to do, We are desperate for some land where we can continue this.”

The situation comes just a week after animal lovers in the area were outraged after a starved foal was tied to a gate and left to die at nearby Peasmarsh.

The RSPCA highlighted how widespread the problem of abandoned horses has become with some owners finding it too expensive to maintain them.

Claire said: “I grew up in Beckley, only a mile away from Gate Farm. In 2008 two spaces became available at Gate Farm on a livery basis.

“I had my own two horses so I quickly agreed to take the spaces.

“Another stable became available which I quickly took on. I was eventually able to obtain eight of the nine stables at Gate Farm.

“With a lot of hard work, time and effort, I have been able to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home around 256 horses and ponies in my seven years at the farm.

“I am, and always have been, completely self funded. Those horses at the yard which can be ridden help pay the yard rent and help with hay.

“I am very much a part of Brownbread Horse Rescue and have been working with and alongside them for six years now.

“The man who has owned the property for 45 years has very suddenly decided to sell up.

“I have two weeks to try and find a new yard or farm for 15 of the permanent equine residents. On top of the horses there is all their hay, equipment, feeds, rug and tack to accommodate and I am in a desperate situation now.

“Some of the horses are too old to re-home. I am very concerned that if we cannot fin or secure a new premises, the future looks bleak and some may have to be euthanised.

“I also have lots of horses and ponies out in loan/adoption homes. Most are for life but they sometimes need to be returned due to unforeseen circumstances so this adds a greater stress to what happens if we cannot secure a new yard.

“I am desperately appealing to the public to help us to find a new farm, yard or any land to which we can possibly build a yard to secure the future of these innocent, deserving animals.

If we had enough help, my aim would be to buy some land etc so that we have life long security in view of the fact of whats happened whilst renting.

“We are organising many fund raising events such as sponsored dog walks and bike rides.

“I am also calling all investors potential trustees to join with us and help in anyway they can.

“My thoughts were if we can raise £1 per person and can reach thousands it will all build up and then we can secure somewhere for life.

“We have some funds available for renting, covered by the loan scheme.

“We have a donations page on Facebook (Free Rein Horse Rescue) and people can call me on 0788 1104576.