The keeper of a horse found with a leg cut to the bone and a corneal ulcer has been fined £1,250 and banned from keeping horses for 10 years.

Roberta Cleere, of Scorrier Street, St Day, Cornwall, has also been given a 24-week suspended prison sentence, having been found guilty of four counts of causing unnecessary suffering.

As well as Prince, who had not received veterinary treatment for his injured leg or eye, Cleere was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to Beau and Jess, for failing to investigate and treat their poor body condition, and Sampson, for failing to investigate his weight loss.

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Beau and Jess were taken into the RSPCA’s care, but Beau did not survive.

RSPCA inspector Jon Phipps said: “There are no excuses at all for Ms Cleere’s actions.

“She is not a pony-mad teenager, who was in above her head. She has more than 18 years’ experience as an equestrian and should have known better.

“Despite our help and advice, she allowed the ponies to suffer and as a result found herself before the courts, where she was convicted and sentenced for four offences.

“Beau and Jess were both signed over to the RSPCA. Unfortunately Beau died of an infection – the tiny horse’s poor body condition made it impossible for him to fight it off.”

Cleere’s solicitor said his client found it hard to refuse when locals who found themselves in difficulty asked her to take on their horses, and that despite her intention to re-home, she ended up with about 35 to 40 animals. She then had trouble paying vets’ bills.

The 39-year-old, who committed the offences between December 2015 and February 2016 in Redruth and Troon, was sentenced at Truro Magistrates’ court on 26 October.

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She was also ordered to complete 100 hours’ unpaid work, and a deprivation order was made on the two horses who had not previously been signed over to the RSPCA.

Mr Phipps said: “I’m pleased to say that Jess has been successfully rehomed, and as a result of the deprivation order we’ll now be able to find new homes for Sampson and Prince as well.”