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Homeless horses need new owners

  • SPCA animal carer Rhondasha Wilkinson looks after Snoopy the pony

Horses are looking for a new home after a riding school went into liquidation.

The 12 animals, from the now-closed Spicelands Riding School, were turned over to the SPCA which has launched a bid to find them new owners.

A spokeswoman for the animal charity said: “The SPCA has been busy securing homes for these horses.”

The Warwick riding school closed in April last year due to high operating and repair costs.

The school was later turned over to liquidators, professional services firm KPMG, who contacted the SPCA to foster the animals.

The SPCA said that the horses were being paired up with owners who will not be able to sell them on.

The spokeswoman said: “The Ernest Stempel Stables at our Valley Road location has been housing a number of these horses and staff and a team of dedicated volunteers have been caring for them.”

The SPCA thanked staff and volunteers who “responded swiftly, thoughtfully and efficiently” after the horses were placed in their care last month and “the many generous people who stepped up to offer accommodation”.

Some of the animals, including a pony called Snoopy, have already found new homes and were said to be settling well after a lifetime as working horses.

Other potential foster homes are now under assessment by the SPCA, which has opened a special “horse fund” to cover the cost of the animals’ care.

Spicelands manager Liza Outerbridge said the closure of the school had been “a traumatic time” for staff and the owners.

The equestrian centre opened in 1967 as the Warwick Riding School

Ms Outerbridge said she was told in November last year that staff would have to leave the premises for the sale of the property.

She said there had been “conversations about the business remaining as a tenant” and that the school had been poised to relocate to a new site where it could continue to operate.

She added: “The SPCA inspectors had visited us the week prior to the horses being taken in December and confirmed the horses were all fit and well.

“The date of relocation was pending electrical fencing, which had been shipped in, and shelter, which was in hand.”

But Ms Outerbridge said the school was informed that the horses were to be removed on the day before the animals were taken to the SPCA.

She said Spicelands staff had been left “heartbroken and in shock”.

Anyone who wants to support the retired horses should visit the SPCA shelter or call 236-7333.

Donations to the “horse fund” can also be made through the charity’s website at https://spca.bm/donate.

Donors should make it clear that the cash should go to the fund for the “Spicelands horses”.