A Hampshire couple have been banned from keeping horses for ten years after being found guilty of neglecting two ponies.

Anthony Ward and Sarah Moore of Sway, appeared at New Forest Magistrates Court yesterday (9 April) for sentencing.

The couple had both denied four charges of causing unnecessary suffering but failed to turn up at a trial in March and were found guilty in their absence.

The charges came about after the New Forest Agister returned their ponies to them, saying they were not in sufficiently good condition to stay in the forest.

But the ponies’ condition did not improve and the RSPCA was called in. The ponies were said to be emaciated and “days from death” by a vet.

The magistrate banned the pair from keeping horses for a decade and ordered them each to pay a £2,000 fine and costs.

Speaking outside the court, RSPCA inspector Clare Crowther said the charity was happy with the sentence.

She said: “Mr Ward has previous convictions for the neglect of an animal and I feel they would have continued to neglect the ponies.”