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A 14-year-old thoroughbred x shire horse has been found dead in a Somerset field — with suspected gunshot wounds.

Owner Helen Salter found Lucky Touch at 9am in the field in Honiton Road, Churchinford near Taunton yesterday (18 July).

A post mortem examination is being made to establish the cause of death but the mare had six wounds to her stomach.

Mrs Salter, who lives a mile away from the field, told a local newspaper that the horse had been a birthday present and was “her little girl”.

The shooting was thought to have taken place over Sunday night as the mare had been checked the previous afternoon.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said the force is appealing for witnesses and looking into this incident with the RSPCA.

Police believe it was an isolated incident.

Anyone in the area at the time is asked to contact police on 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.