THE Society for the Welfare of Horses and Ponies is urging anyone wanting to help horses and ponies on local commons to only feed hay or forage.

Feeding vegetables, fruit scraps and hard food can cause colic in equines which can be incredibly painful and sometimes fatal, it says.

“May we also remind people to take sensible precautions regarding the spread of possible diseases, when travelling to different areas where horses are being kept,” it said.

The charity, based at Coxstone near the Monmouthshire and Herefordshire border, also said it had received “alarming reports” this spring of people going to the commons and removing newly born foals.

“This has not been endorsed by our charity and is illegal. People could be subject to prosecution if found to be doing this. Most importantly removing a foal which is fit and healthy is incredibly stressful to both foal and mother and can be deduced as a welfare case in itself.

“If you have a concern about a mother and foal or any other equine, please contact ourselves or another welfare charity which can check the situation and deduce whether there is a welfare concern or not.”

For more on the charity and its work call 01600 750233, visit or email swhp@