The Dunsink area of Dublin is an area that is not conducive to the health of horses. There are about 60 horses on the 160-acre site which is a very unsuitable environment for horses," said welfare trust spokeswoman Sharon Newsome.
"There is limited grazing and water supplies and there are a lot of dangers for horses."
The Irish Horse Welfare Trust has joined forces with Fingal County Council to tackle the area's problems. The organisations have drawn up and started a project management plan for equines in the area.
It is the first such plan to try to deal with Dublin's urban horse problem in the long-term and will take about 12 months to complete.
It will begin with a temporary feeding and watering station, and will involve monitoring the welfare of equines on site. The plan also includes working with local horse owners and running educational programmes.
Over the coming weeks, the trust and council, along with local horse owners, will be bringing all the equines on Dunsink together to be checked by a veterinararian, be passported and microchipped. Horse Sport Ireland is sponsoring the passports and microchipping of all of the equines.
Horses not claimed will be taken into care by the trust to be re-homed.
Educational horse care programs for young people with an interest in horses in the area will start at the end of January. The trust has run similar programs in Moyross in Limerick for a number of years which have been hugely successful.
Fingal County Council is providing a facility to run the courses from and sponsorship to cover the costs of the programmes is now being sought.
The long-term objective at Dunsink is to provide an area of land with some facilities for responsible horse owners to use and where education can continue.
The exact site is yet to be decided upon but, according to council spokesperson Ruairi O Dulaing, the council is committed to solving the horse problems in the area while also recognizing the horse culture that exists there.
Newsome said Dunsink had received huge media attention over the Christmas period, including internationally, and the trust received many phone calls and emails from distressed individuals from within Ireland and internationally over Ireland's equine welfare crisis.
The trust was compelled to get directly involved in Dublin and offer its experience to the authorities and agencies, she said.
"There is huge confusion over the issue with regard to abandoned horses in Ireland," Newsome explained.
"In many cases horses are not actually abandoned, but put on to lands and not properly maintained. Horses are even turned out on to mountains or commonage and are very often left neglected.
"Equine welfare is the priority for the trust and that is why, as an industry-recognized charity, we know that we can make a difference and drive change from the ground, but we do recognize it won't be easy and that there is no quick solution.
"However, with everyone working together, change happens much more quickly and efficiently."
About the author
As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.
She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.
Staying up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..