A SANCTUARY for retired racehorses on the edge of Malvern is set to close because of a lack of funding and volunteers.

Lee Morse, founder of the Halfkey-based Racehorse Welfare Centre, says that making the decision to close has been heartbreaking for her.

She has been looking after retired racehorses for ten years, although she did not set up as a formal charity until about three years ago.

She was introduced to the problems faced by retired racehorses by her son, who is a jockey.

And now she is hoping to hear from people or organisations who are able to rehome the ten remaining horses at the sanctuary.

She said: “People just don’t know about the problems of rehoming racehorses once they have retired.

“A lot of people think they live a happy life in a field somewhere, but quite a lot of them are sent for slaughter, and the ones that are not often have quite severe physical or behavioural problems.

“I’ve been running the centre with volunteers, but I had hoped by now to have paid workers, but the funding isn’t available.

“A lot of it has been down to my looking after some horses with quite severe problems.

“Some people adopt retired racehorses, but they don’t realise the responsibility they are taking on and they can’t cope. A racehorse is a very different breed to the ordinary horse or pony.

“We have the vets’ bills and the blacksmiths’ bills and we don’t get discounts, and we have to buy all the fodder for the horses. It’s not cheap running a sanctuary like this.

“I don’t own the land the centre is based on, so I have to find the money to pay the rent as well, and it’s all got too much.

“I would have hoped that the big gambling companies would want to help fund centres like mine, since they make so much money out of racing, but it’s really hard to find support.

“Any offers of help will be really appreciated people who can give good homes to these horses and know how to look after them.”