An elderly pony has been rescued after being abandoned and tied to a gate post on a bridleway in Dorset.

The chestnut mare was discovered by a rider who was hacking along the path at Holt Heath, near Wimborne on Monday (27 October).

She has now been taken in by RSPCA who are appealing for information (see number below) about the pony.

The pony appears to have been reasonably well looked after and had a full set of new shoes and a neatly trimmed tail.

The pony was not microchipped but RSPCA animal welfare officer Jo Blackburn said she has a “crescent-shaped marking on her forehead which someone might recognise.”

“She was found tied up to a gate, but she didn’t have any food where she was. It looks like she may have been there since early on Monday or late on Sunday evening,” Ms Blackburn added.

“She’s sweet old pony and is really friendly, so it is a bit of a mystery why she was abandoned.”

Since being taken in by the RSPCA the pony has treated for some minor cuts but is otherwise in good health.

UK equine welfare charities have made repeated calls for horse identification legislation to be tightened so that it is compulsory for all animals to be microchipped, have a passport and be registered. This would mean that in cases like this the owners of the animal would be identifiable.

The European Union (EU) Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health announced changes last month (15 September), which will mean that every foal will now have to be issued with a single passport with a unique identification number before its first birthday.

Under the new regulations all horses born after the 1 July 2009 will have to be microchipped so that their records can be checked and updated and serve as a passport.

It will also be compulsory for all this information to be stored on a centralised database for all EU member states. However, these new rules will not come into forces until 2016.

If anyone has any information on the dumped pony they should call the RSPCA on 03001238018.