The RSPCA is appealing for information about an emaciated mare and foal who were dumped in a field in Ripley, Surrey.

The bay mare had collapsed and was discovered in a field on Hungry Hill Lane on the morning of 30 December by a member of the public.

It appears the horses were deliberately dumped in the field, which was unlocked.

“The mare could hardly stand so it is very unlikely she strayed into the field. The most likely explanation is that she was dumped from either a lorry or a trailer,” said RSPCA inspector Rob Jackson.

He said the colt was thin, not emaciated, but his mother (pictured, right) was too weak to stand.

“It was touch and go if we would be able to get her standing or whether she would have to be put to sleep,” Inspector Jackson said.

Eventually the mare was able to go in a horsebox and was transported to stables nearby to give her the best possible chance of recovery.

Inspector Jackson said: “I would urge anyone who recognises these ponies or has information about where they came from, or how they came to be in this field, to contact the RSPCA.”

The 14.2hh mare is thought to be aged between seven and nine and has a two-month-old colt at foot. The colt is also bay, with a white star and snip.

Neither of the horses was wearing a headcollar but the mare had a piece of blue rope, like a thick shoelace, tied around her neck.

Abandoning an animal is a criminal offence that can incur fines of up to £20,000 and a six-month prison sentence, so the RSPCA is keen to trace the people responsible for these horses.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the confidential RSPCA cruelty and information line on 0300 1234 999 and leave a message for Inspector Jackson.