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Horse sculptures help raise money for hospice

The peaceful death of a grandmother surrounded by her family has inspired her son to help raise money for the hospice that cared for her.

He's helped to design one of 24 life-sized horse sculptures, which are now on display in Tunbridge Wells, ahead of their auction next week.

Abigail Bracken went to see them.

(Abigail spoke to son Alistair Hill, artist Pete Grevitt and Ben Alonso from Hospice in the Weald).

Report: From the horse world's elite to the mini stars of the future - Hickstead 2017

The Longines Royal International Horse Show is taking place in West Sussex this weekend.

It's one of the oldest events of its kind in the world - featuring the stars of equestrian sport, and some of the most enthusiastic amateurs.

Since 1992 its home has been Hickstead, a beautiful backdrop for a sport which shows no sign of dwindling in popularity

30,000 are expected over the four day festival, as Rachel Hepworth reports:

Rachel spoke to Hickstead's Edward Bunn, veteran showjumper John Whitaker and people competing in the amateur events.

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Dumped to die: Animal welfare charity's concern about equine crisis

The original photograph is below - reader discretion is advised Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA has revealed concern about the increasing number of horses who have been neglected and ‘dumped to die’ in Kent this winter.

In what it describes as an 'equine crisis', the animal welfare charity said it has received a spate of calls about distressing equine incidents in the county in the past few months.

Officers have described "heartbreaking scenes" after finding horses - dead or dying - left in terrible conditions by the side of roads, in woodland and sometimes dumped under fly-tipped debris as if they were rubbish.

Of the 38 incidents they have been called to, 13 horses were found already dead, and 25 were collapsed and dying - six in such a poorly state that nothing could be done to save them and 19 able to be rescued, cared for and treated.

I have been called out again and again to horses who are either already dead - or they are so neglected and unwell it is just too late to save them.

The issue is particularly noticeable between November and spring because of winter-related problems like the lack of grazing and redworm and cold weather pushing animals who are already ill over the edge.

These issues should be easily treatable, but instead of being given the care they need, the horses are just being neglected and then dumped to die.

Horses can be very expensive to keep and we believe some people decide to callously abandon their poorly horses instead of pay for veterinary treatment. We urge owners who are struggling to care for their horses are urged to contact the RSPCA or other horse welfare charities for advice and assistance rather than dump their animals in a dying state.”

– Inspector Rosie Russon, RSPCA

The RSPCA is urging anyone who has information about people dumping and neglecting horses to call them on 0300 1234 999, in complete confidence.

WARNING Readers may find the following picture and details distressing:

Credit: RSPCA
  • A dead horse found dumped in Bull Hill, Horton Kirby, Dartford, on Tuesday, 21 February
  • The bodies of two horses found dumped on Beech Road, Kingshill in West Malling on Friday, 17 February - one a year-old dark Bay mare with white socks, wrapped in a blue horse rug in woodland
  • A dead horse was tied to a tree by the church in Lamberhurst, Tunbridge Wells on Friday, 17 February
  • Six dying horses found in the Dartford area on Thursday, 16 February. As this is an ongoing investigation, the RSPCA cannot provide further details.
  • A skewbald mare and her foal were found dumped in Wouldham Road, Rochester on Thursday, 16 February in an extremely poorly state. Both were emaciated and weak. The filly is still in RSPCA care, but sadly the mare died a few days later.
  • A piebald horse was found dead and dumped on the side of the road in Eglantine, Horton Kirby on Tuesday, 14 February
  • A young piebald pony was found collapsed and dying in Yalding, Maidstone on 28 January. She was so unwell she could not be saved and had to be put to sleep to end her suffering.
  • The body of a horse dumped underneath a pile of planks in a field in Horton Kirby, Dartford of wood on 2 January - next to a can of petrol container. We assume that the intention may have been to set the body on fire (pictured). A few days later six more horses were rescued from the same location - all still in RSPCA care.
  • The body of the dead pony was dumped on a woodland path is the Wateringbury, Maidstone, in the first week of January

Queen's 90th birthday preview show cancelled

The heavy rain and mud has led to tonight's show being cancelled

A preview performance of the Royal Windsor Horse Show has been cancelled. The event is part of the celebrations planned by the organisers of Her Majesty the Queen's 90th Birthday Celebrations in Windsor.

The organisers have said that the show in front of a live audience can not take place because of heavy rain. There will be no impact on performances for the rest of the week, but the organisers said that unfortunately they can not offer replacement tickets to anyone who was planning to attend tonight's show because all the other performances are sold out.

Nick Brooks-Ward, Director of Operations for the Royal Windsor Horse Show explains the situation below.

Horses break loose after horsebox crash on M25

The horsebox collided with another vehicle between junctions 9 and 8 on the M25 Credit: PA

Two horses broke loose after a horsebox was involved in a crash on the M25 in Surrey, leading to tailbacks on a busy summer holiday weekend.

The collision between the horsebox and another vehicle, possibly a white HGV, happened between junctions 9 and 8 at around 9.40am.

Traffic officers at Surrey Police said there were no human injuries. One of the two horses suffered some injuries but was still able to walk.

A driver towing an empty horsebox helped secure the loose animals at the scene as Surrey Police appealed for witnesses to the accident to call them on 101.

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Heavy Horses Help in Hastings

When it comes to bashing the bracken - what you need are some hardy horses. And so visitors to a country park on the south coast, will see Exmoor ponies, some Ardennes horses, and wild cattle - all doing their bit for nature conservation.

As David Johns found out, it's all the idea of Hastings Council. Good for tourism, it told us and good for the environment too.

He spoke to horse owner Frankie Woodgate, Murray Davidson from Hastings Borough Council, and Anna Bogg from the Sussex Pony Grazing & Conservation Trust.

Appeal for new home for horses facing eviction

A horse rescue centre in Sussex has been given just weeks to find a new home, or it will have to close. If the proprietors at Free Rein Horse Rescue in Beckley don't find new premises, they may even have to put down fifteen horses and ponies. Andrea Thomas has been speaking to proprietor Claire Gerrard.

Anyone who might be able to offer land to rent is asked to call Georgia Brown on 07936 683703 or Claire on 07881 104576 or go to their donation page

Police investigate disappearance of horses

Police are investigating after four horses disappeared from a field on Woodhouse Lane in Botley overnight on Friday, February 28th.A padlock holding the gate in place had been knocked off and no reports were received of any loose horses in the area after 4pm.

Officers are investigating whether the animals were stolen. Two of the horses were 12 and 14-year-old geldings respectively. The other two were colt yearlings and difficult to handle. A total value for all four horses is thought to be around £14,000.

I’m keen to speak to anyone who was in the Woodhouse Lane area between 4pm on Friday afternoon and 6.30am the following morning. Do you recall seeing a horse box or animal style transporter? Did you see the horses loose ijn the area?”

– Sergeant Debby Holman
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