Fly Grazing Horses

Illegally Grazed or “Fly” Grazing Horses

Advice to horse owners and the public

We sometimes receive reports about abandoned and illegally grazed horses on open spaces in the borough. These are mainly from members of the public that are concerned about their welfare.

We also receive calls from landowners who have had horses abandoned on their land.

What is fly grazing?

Fly grazing of horses occurs when a horse/horses is/are placed on someone's land without their permission. This happens on both privately owned and public land.

The horses can be tethered on grass verges or may be left to roam on fields or green spaces.

Why is it a problem?

Animal welfare

It can be difficult to initially see the problems associated with illegal grazing. A lot of horses are kept outside all year and manage to cope in winter weather. Horses need access to food, water and shelter (which can be natural or man-made).

In summer months they require access to shade, fresh grass and additional food and water. Additional food (for example, hay) should be provided in locations where grazing is poor. An underweight horse can indicate that a horse is not getting enough food.

Illegally grazed horses may not receive the attention they need when they are injured or ill. These horses can lack the basic need of a good worming programme. If left untreated this can kill horses.


Sometimes there is a risk of horses straying onto roads. There is a greater risk of this with land that is close to busy roads or residential areas. A car hitting a horse can be fatal for both the driver and the horse.
Horses that feel threatened can kick or bite passers-by when they are approached. There have also been occasions where members of the public have been threatened by horse owners.

What to do in an emergency situation?

Fly grazed horses would often be classified as companion animals and their welfare would be the responsibility of the RSPCA. If it is an emergency situation (e.g. the horse is sick, injured or at immediate risk of danger) then please call the RSPCA hotline on 0300 1234 999. You will need to give as much detail as possible, including the location of the horse and any access issues.

If a horse is loose on the highway and is a danger to traffic, then please contact the Police on 999.

What are we doing to tackle illegal grazing?

We do not allow horses to be illegally grazed on our land. Where a horse is being grazed illegally we will attempt to contact the owner of the horse. Where this is not possible, a notice will be attached near to where they are being grazed requiring the removal of the horse(s).

If they are not moved, we will make arrangements to have the horse(s) removed. Once a horse is impounded we will only be able to return it to its owners if a horse passport for the animal is provided.

The Local Authority also has powers under the Control of Horses (Wales) Act 2014 to seize and impound a horse which is on any highway, or in any other public place, in the Local Authority’s area if it has reasonable grounds for believing that the horse is there without lawful authority.

What about illegal grazing on private land?

When a horse is abandoned on privately owned land we will attempt to contact the landowner and make them aware of the situation. We are able to utilise our powers under the Control of Horses (Wales) Act 2014 to remove fly grazing horses if requested to do so by a land owner. We utilise private contractors to carry out the removal of these horses and any costs incurred in doing so will have to be borne by the land owner.

Making a complaint about a fly grazing horse

If you have a complaint or concerns about a fly grazing horse, then please contact the Frontline Enforcement team on the contact details below.

Contact Information

Frontline Enforcement Team
The General Offices
Steelworks Road
Ebbw Vale
NP23 6AA
Telephone:  01495 357813
Fax: 01495 355834
Email :