A 15-year-old bay gelding is the latest casualty in the ongoing spate of attacks on horses around Britain. He has been cut twice, probably by a long knife, leaving a gash 6ins long and 4ins deep on his right hindquarter plus another minor injury.

The horse was being kept in a field with four companions, none of which were hurt. The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, has told investigators that the attack has transformed the placid gelding in to a “jumpy wreck”.

The flesh between two of the horse’s muscles has been split, which has forced the vet to cover the more serious wound with artificial skin to try and encourage the natural skin to grow back.

Tony Woodley from the RSPCA, who is investigating the case, told HHO: “It is extremely difficult in cases like this to make headway unless somebody comes forward with additional information, but we are living in hope.

“Veterinary evidence suggests that the attack took place around two days before it was discovered, allwing an infection to develop and spread, which has caused great distress to the animal.”

Ruling out the possibility that the wound resulted from a sharp object in its field or another animal, investigators are appealing for any information as to who could have carried out the attack, as the motive is unclear.

Tony continued: “In my experience this could have been carried out by anyone from members of a cult to somebody with a personal grudge.”

The investigation continues, and anybody with information should ring the 24 hr RSPCA control centre in the strictest confidence (tel: 0870 555 5999).