The owner of a Welsh Mountain pony who let its feet grow into “Turkish slippers” has been banned for keeping horses for 10 years.

Shropshire farmer Timothy John Adkins, who pleaded guilty to unnecessary suffering to a horse when he appeared before magistrates, was also given a two-year community rehabilitation order, and ordered to pay £5,962 costs to the RSPCA.

The 20-year-old pony called Taffy, was found by RSPCA inspector Chris Dunbar last August at Sutton Hall Farm in Oteley Road, Shrewsbury.

“The horse was emaciated so much that the bones in its body were clearly visible and the shed where it was kept had two feet of muck on the floor.

“When we arrived at the farm the horse could not stand up – its feet were so overgrown that they looked like Turkish slippers. The horse looked like it had been neglected for a considerable amount of time.”

The hooves had to be trimmed by between 6- 7ins with vets estimating that they had not been touched for at least two years.

Vets who attended the case said they were prepared to put the pony down if painkillers administered to move him had not worked.

Taffy, who is now fully recovered, is living at the RSPCA Dorrington Animal Centre near Shrewsbury, where he will remain.

Inspector Dunbar said: “The RSPCA seesfar too many cases of horse neglect. Horses are an enormous responsibility and yet so many people take them on without thought for their care or welfare. Unfortunately when these horses become sick or injured they are left to fend for themselvesand the owners do not seek veterinary care.

“The RSPCA urges people to think carefully before acquiring an animal and to consider whether they can offer all the facilities needed. It is also important that if a pet owner feels they cannot cope they should seek help before the animal suffers.”