The recent death of a four-year-old miniature Shetland pony has highlighted the potential dangers of rubbish being dumped in fields grazed by horses.

Sammy Khor’s pony Malcolm (pictured) was kept with two other ponies in a rented field in Esher, Surrey. Last month Sammy arrived to check her ponies and realised something was wrong.

“Malcolm usually comes over to the gate when we arrive but there was no sign of him that day. We found him collapsed and unable to stand in the field. Initially, our vet suspected a bad attack of colic.

“Malcolm’s field backs onto private gardens and despite repeated requests to the householders, I have had problems with household rubbish being dumped there,” explains Sammy. “I became concerned that Malcolm might have found something toxic.”

Sammy’s worst fears were confirmed when she discovered some sawn-off tree branches in the paddock and noticed the wood had been chewed.

In spite of being treated for poisoning, Malcolm failed to respond and was put down a few days later.

“My whole family was devastated to lose Malcolm. He was a real character, and he had his whole future ahead of him. I am furious that stupidity and ignorance has led to this lovely pony losing his life at sucha young age.

” I have written to all the householders whose properties back onto the paddock to explain what has happened and ask them once again not to dump anything in the field. I can only hope they will listen this time.”

BHS head ofwelfare, Kerstin Alford, said: “Often people don’t realise the potential harm their actions can cause, however in this case it appears that although the offenders had been asked to stop, they carried on. We hope that by highlighting this tragic incident, it will increase awareness of the dangers associated with dumping rubbish and prevent a similar situation occurring again.”