Horse lovers have united in criticism of the decision to treat a badly an injured pony with prosthetics rather than have it put down.

Chestnut filly Angel Marie was apparently stood on by her mother as a foal, leaving her with severely damaged front limbs. One was subsequently amputated while the other is now supported with a brace.

Pictures show the mare, who is now thought to be around two-years-old, to also have problems with her hind legs.

Prosthetics designer Derrick Campana, who runs Animal Ortho Care LLC in Virginia, US, has previously worked with a range of animals, including Mosha, an elephant who lost a foot in a landmine explosion in Thailand.

His prosthetics and braces are made from highly-durable, medical-grade plastics and cost around $500-$700 for a brace, or $1250 for a false limb.

He told Reuters that being able to design prosthetics for the pony was like “a miracle”.

“I’ve seen so many animals over the years and some hit me more than others and with Angel, having her here today walking is just a dream come true,” he said.

Angel’s owner Derrick Lennie Green added: “The kids just love her to death and she loves the kids. So it’s really a great thing, the prosthetics. If it wasn’t for that she would have never made it.”

But equestrians were almost unanimous in their condemnation of the mare’s treatment when the story circulated on social media this week.

Horse-owner Amanda Pratley commented: “Just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.

“I thought it was a grotesque thing to do… done because he could and possibly as the owners are not selfless enough to do what was best for the pony. It makes me feel sad to be human,” she added.

Another rider from Berkshire said: “Poor, poor little pony. It should have been gently put to sleep. What a misery for it.”

While a third commented: “Forget the prosthetics, it’s back end is upsetting enough. Why would anyone put anything through this. The guy isn’t even a vet!”

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Horse & Hound veterinary adviser Karen Coumbe MRCVS agreed with the concerns, also noting that the pony was not being treated by a qualified vet for the prosthetics.

“I cannot imagine that the pony in question has a good quality of life,” she said. “Horses are designed to be able to run away from danger and it will be stressful for this little individual who would be unable run anywhere.”

Mr Campana did not reply to Horse & Hound’s request asking him to explain the ethical stance behind his decision to treat the pony.

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