Rowan Elliot, Sarah Jones and Siobhan Mikaere are on a mission to save horses in the Bay of Plenty.
When it comes to equine neglect, they’ve seen it all – and Rowan says what they have witnessed is “mortifying”.The RRR Rescue, - for rescue, revive and rehome - that Rowan and Siobhan run with many volunteers, has expanded with the launch of ‘RRR Rescue Equine’ just before Christmas.
At the time of writing this, the equine team have 46 horses and miniature ponies, and four donkeys in their care.
“We’ve had foals from 24-hours-old to a 33-year-old gelding come into the rescue for a variety of different reasons,” says Rowan.
“They’re coming in for neglect, malnourishment, abandonment, feet and dental issues, physical abuse and beatings. One gelding had a skull fracture that disfigured his face, also rope burns around necks from being tied.
“We’ve been called out to skeletons of horses that died still tied to posts. The skeletons still had rope around their necks where they laid down with no water, no
“We’ve been sent photos of horses tongue-tied with wire. One tongue had to be amputated because it was open and hanging.”
In every instance, RRR Rescue Equine reports the abuse to the SPCA.
Rowan says they are trying to help make people aware that the animal neglect that RRR deals with goes beyond dogs and cats.
“We’re looking for people who can help support this side of our service with horses and livestock – it’s just so needed.”
The financial costs are high for saving the abused and neglected horses. Each stallion that comes in to RRR Rescue Equine is gelded, costing $500.
Additionally, for mares as well as stallions there’s $105 for a full dental, around $40 to pay petrol costs for the vet, worming the horse is $28, and the farrier fee is between $30 and $40.
The RRR charges a fee of about $500-$550 to rehome a miniature horse, and for a large horse the fee varies.
“We’re seeing a massive increase in abuse of miniature ponies because people see them as backyard pets for managing their lawns and they don’t take into consideration the care and management to keep them healthy.”
If the miniature stallions are not gelded they can become aggressive.
“And then the owners don’t want them.”
RRR Rescue Equine need sponsors, volunteers and grazing blocks to keep up with growing demand. They can be contacted through their Facebook page.