AN INVESTIGATION has been stepped up after an abandoned young pony was found at death’s door.

Animal inspectors are looking into the care of horses in a Hampshire community following the discovery of the emaciated colt found dumped in fields.

He was lucky to survive his ordeal, but since then another horse was abandoned on the land with a contagious disease and has been put down.

In response, the RSPCA is increasing patrols and efforts to improve conditions for animals kept on the former Hamble Airfield.

There are around 40 horses there which the charity says are owned by various people.

RSPCA Southampton area inspector Penny Baker said she has been visiting the airfield following calls or to follow up previous visits at least weekly, sometimes twice a day.

Concerns surround tethering of some of the horses which limits movement.

Although not illegal, the RSPCA do not support it.

There are recommendations on how it should be done which in some cases are not followed.

Horses have got free of the tether and at times have ended up on nearby roads.

Some animals have been found at the site suffering from undernourishment.

Efforts were stepped up after a one-year-old colt was found cold, emaciated and with a skin condition abandoned at the airfield – no owner was found.

Since that incident in February, Ms Baker has been building a portfolio of horses, although the animals change regularly, making it difficult to keep tabs on them.

She has put up posters warning owners of checks and does a monthly inspection.

The RSPCA animal welfare charity organised a cheap worming, microchipping and passport service in May, but this was postponed after a new horse turned up on the airfield suffering with strangles, a highly contagious equine disease.

No owner was traced and the animal could not be taken in due to the disease, so was put down.

Ms Baker said they relied on the public giving them detailed information if they were concerned about a horse.

Anyone with concerns can call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.


Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice.

According to the RSPCA, this means that horse owners must provide a suitable environment, a suitable diet, be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, be housed with or apart from other animals and be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.