An Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) equestrian centre near Stirling in Scotland has temporarily shut after four horses died of acute grass sickness.

The horses came down with the mystery illness last Thursday and died within four days.

Manager of the Sauchieburn Centre at Bannochburn, Sara Smith, said: “We’ve closed our doors for a week until Monday when we’ll review the situation.

“We’re feeding the remaining 18 horses probiotics and cutting down on their grazing. At the moment they look fine but this disease can strike so quickly.

“We’ve lost 50 per cent of our driving force.”

The 15-year old centre hosts more than 150 disabled clients a week.

Ms Smith, who’s been manager at the centre for 10 years, said: “I seriously hope this is the end of it but we’ll have to do some serious fundraising to recover. I must thank our vet Tina Vernon from Crieff, who’s been magnificent.”

If anyone wants to offer help to the centre please call Sara Smith, tel:07736731743.