A horse shot in the eye at point-blank range with an air gun last week is to be put down. Vets were unable to save the horse’s eye.

The 16.1hh Clydesdale and an eight-year-old miniature Shetland/Falabella were discovered distressed in their field in Lodge Bottom Lane, Headley, Surrey, last Saturday.

The gun pellets were so deeply embedded in the right eyes of both animals that vet Mike Burrell concluded they had been shot at point-blank range.

“The pellets were lodged so far back in their eyes that it was clear they had been shot with the barrel of the gun against their eyeball,” said Mr Burrell. “In all my years as a vet I have never seen anything as bad as this.”

The Clydesdale, named Boo, lost his left eye to cancer four years ago and Mr Burrell said because it was not possible to salvage the right eye he would have to be put down.

The Shetland, Buckaroo, will survive but had to have his right eye removed.

The horses’ owner, Jane Sinclair, 37, said: “We found out when we went down there to feed them on Saturday and realised that there was something dreadfully wrong.

“The Shetland is my daughter’s, who is almost three, and she understands he was hurt. She keeps saying he will be better soon.

“Imogen adores her pony and we take her down to see him every day. Buckaroo follows her around and lets her ride him. They are so sweet together.”

The incident happened sometime between 7.30pm on Friday, 16 January, and 12pm on Saturday.

Mole Valley Sergeant Peter Gunning-Stevenson said: “This was a deliberate and shocking act of animal cruelty.

“This incident has distressed the owners and the whole equestrian community in the area which is why I am appealing to members of the public to help us.

Anyone with information should contact Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222 quoting reference MV/09/242.