An advert that shows “before and after” photos of a horse who was near death has provoked complaints.

The advert for Blue Chip appeared in H&H (6 November) and shows “Hope” lying in a field of mud “before”, and then frolicking in an arena “after”.

The picture is accompanied by the following text from vet Vikki Fowler: “Blue Chip Original is the product that I recommend to anyone who struggles with their horse’s condition.

“I have used Blue Chip for the past 11 years and it is the product I turned to to help Hope, who I rescued from near death and who is now flourishing.”

H&H has received several complaints from readers, including “the horse looks dead”, “the horse looks like it has a plastic bag on its head” and “it’s not the same horse”.

One reader has told H&H she has reported it to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). However, Blue Chip told H&H it had not been contacted by the organisation.

“There is what looks like a dead pony with a polythene bag over its head at the bottom of the page and at the top is a healthy horse,” said the reader.

“Blue Chip is suggesting this is the same animal. Reviving dead animals is a miracle property for any feed to have. Changing a pony into a horse, including its colour and markings, is another.”

Blue Chip countered this, however. “We’ve recently had a couple of emails about our new advert,” a spokesman said.

“We can absolutely confirm that it is the same horse. The conditions that she was rescued from were appalling and very muddy, and we can only put the black appearance of her feathers in the ‘before’ photo down to this.

We always thoroughly check the sources and photographs that we are sent, and as one of the most respected and high profile equine nutrition brands in the UK, we would never compromise our principles in any way.”

Ref: H&H, 11 December 2014