A HORSE charity has warned that some animals may need to be put down because of the credit crunch.

The Horse Trust, based at Speen, said in just three weeks more than 500 people had asked about having their animals re-homed because they could not afford to keep them any longer.

The charity said the number of requests for help was “unprecedented”.

Susan Lewis, the Horse Trust’s marketing manager, said: "We simply can't take on any other animals. The charity pound is now stretched to breaking point as people's purses dry up.

"For some animals, it seems, euthanasia may now be the only option left."

She said it now costs £17 a day to keep a horse at the charity because of rising feed and veterinary charges.

"It isn't a new story,” said Susan. “We have for many years warned horse owners that they face the issues of cost, care and commitment well into the old age of a horse, which can be up to 30 years.

“Now, however, it seems that we are facing a more widespread crisis."

The Trust’s stables are now full to capacity, but the charity is still being inundated by horse owners asking to have their animals rehomed or rescued.

Susan Lewis said: "Animals which have been cherished for 20 years and are now approaching retirement age are becoming too expensive for owners to maintain at livery, especially as the winter season is approaching with its inherent requirements for additional feed, housing and veterinary care.

"Most people are saying, 'Help, what can I do? I adore my horse which has lived with me since I was a tiny child - but now I can barely feed myself let alone my horse.

"He has always come first - but having lost my home and the field in which I keep him, I just don't know where to turn'.”