Police are appealing for witnesses after two horses were injured in a knife-slashing incident last Monday (21 May) in Brinkworth, Wiltshire.

The incident occurred between 12noon and 6.15pm. One of the horses, a 22-year-old gelding called Gizmo, had three sides of a square carved into the right side of his upper hindleg. The lengths of the cuts were 10in, 11in and 9in. The slash into the thigh muscle is at one point 1in deep.

Louise Baines, who owns both horses, told H&H: “He’s exceptionally friendly and has no fear of people. There must have been two people involved, with one of them holding him”. She added: “The wound looks like an envelope with the skin folded back.”

Ali Mead, the vet who treated the horses, told H&H: “The wound was about 1hr 30min old when I got there and it was horrific — I’d never seen anything like it.”

She treated him for pain and sutured the muscle. Fortunately, the wound was clean and Ms Mead is optimistic of Gizmo’s recovery.

It is thought that the second horse, Charlie, a part-Thoroughbred, was injured as he tried to escape the attackers. The gelding sustained what Ms Mead described as “a nasty, jagged 4in laceration to the inside of a front leg”.

It was unclear whether this wound was self-inflicted or caused by a human.

Police are appealing for witnesses but, at the time of writing, had no suspects. A third horse was in the field at the time of the crime but managed to avoid being harmed.

Contact PC Julie Mason at Wootton Bassett Police Station on (tel: 0845 408 7000).