A Surrey woman has been banned from keeping animals for life after neglecting her horse to such an extent that he had to be put to sleep.

Jane Henry, 68, of Dormansland in Lingfield, appeared before Reigate Magistrates Court on 6 April and was found guilty of three counts of neglecting 33-year-old “Marballs”.

She was sentenced to a 12-month community order, 250 hours unpaid work and court costs, totalling £7,786.26, on 27 April.

On 30 May 2008 World Horse Welfare field officer Ted Barnes was sent to investigate reports of an emaciated horse being kept on rented land at Castle Square in Bletchingly.

Mr Barnes found the elderly 16.2hh bay gelding collapsed on the ground. He had no fat or muscle coverage whatsoever and was completely exhausted.

An independent veterinary surgeon advised that Marballs be put to sleep to avoid further suffering.

“Marballs was one of the thinnest horses I have ever seen and I find it very difficult to understand how Mrs Henry was able to turn a blind eye to his deteriorating condition,” said Mr Barnes.

“This is a very strong sentence but nothing can compare to the unimaginable suffering that her horse was subjected to.”