The last three horses left homeless by the closure of a riding school were flown last night to a new future overseas.

The animals were transported free of charge by EquiJet, a specialist in horse transportation by air, who worked closely with the Bermuda Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The SPCA took in the horses at the end of last year after Spicelands Riding School, in Warwick, went into liquidation.

Many horses were placed locally in foster homes, with several housed temporarily at the newly completed Stempel Stables at the SPCA’s Paget shelter.

Sarah Tarfur, the president of the SPCA, said the future of the horses had been uncertain, but that the help from around the island had been nothing short of “extraordinary”.

Ms Tarfur said: “There was an outpouring of support to care for the horses that was both heart-warming and shows how a community can come together in times of need. Each person’s contribution counted and resulted in fantastic care.

“Some volunteers did early mornings, some raced off from work to do lunch shifts, some after work, some gave up their weekends, some did week after week and some did shifts here and there, and, surprisingly, even some visitors to the island did shifts and offered to help to find new homes for the animals.”

Four of the horses were shipped out to the United States last month, while a further five went to “for ever foster homes” on the island.

Ms Tarfur said the locations were confidential, but SPCA staff were sent pictures of the horses at their new homes.

The SPCA thanked EquiJet for its help, along with the “extensive” list of those who helped with stabling horses and the delivery of feed, farrier services and veterinary care.

Mrs Tafur added: “As the island’s only animal shelter, the SPCA found homes for 200 animals and reunited dozens of lost pets with their families in the past year. Our work is dependent upon the generosity of individuals and the corporate community and is greatly assisted by a strong team of volunteers.”

By Jonathan Bell The Royal Gazette