Police are investigating after a horse in New Zealand suffered chemical burns to its face.

Thirteen-year-old gelding Squirt was found with a creosote-type substance smeared all over the left side of his face, narrowly missing his eye, at a showjumping event in the North Island.

Hawera police believe the attack occurred on Friday night (4 March) at the Egmont A&P Showgrounds for the three-day National Showjumping Series Final.

The horse competed later in the competition as it was reportedly in no distress or discomfort.

Owner Kathyrn Corry told local press that the horse had had a similar substance smeared on it, around its girth, at an event in Foxton the Saturday before.

A spokesman for Equestrian Sports New Zealand said: “We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms, noting that the welfare of our horses is paramount. On conclusion of the police investigation, ESNZ will take further action against any member found to have been involved.”

It is understood that a fellow competitor has been questioned.