The British Horse Society (BHS) is this morning assessing the welfare of two emaciated ponies in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

A senior welfare officer, together with Lee Hackett, head of the BHS welfare department, are with the ponies following mounting public concern.

The story has escalated since 7pm last night when a concerned local resident posted pictures of the ponies on the Horse & Hound forum.

A BHS spokesman said: “This is a legal matter so we can’t comment further at present, but we hope to be able to say more this afternoon.”

World Horse Welfare has said this morning that it attended the ponies in late August, following a tip-off from a member of the public.

The charity attended with a vet, who stated the ponies were not suffering.

A spokesman for World Horse Welfare said “our hands are tied”.

“We visited the two ponies in question and we are concerned about the condition they are in.

“In conjunction with the RSPCA, we arranged for a vet to examine them and the vet has stated that they are not suffering.

“We will continue to monitor the situation but without a veterinary report to confirm they are suffering, we are unable to take any further action and must work within the law as laid out in the Animal Welfare Act section 18:5.”

Horse & Hound will continue to monitor the situation and update this story.