A family-run stud has appealed for help after three horses were found dead in suspicious circumstances within a week.
Rebecca Pryce’s 25-year-old mare Rosie (pictured, below) died on 27 November, and 12-year-olds Sharifa and Tia, both of whom were in foal, were found dead in the same field, in Cambridgeshire, exactly a week later.
Miss Pryce said early post-mortem examination findings suggest the younger mares suffered haemorrhaging and deep bruising on their necks and near their heads.
“We’re so devastated about what we’ve lost,” she told H&H.
“They meant such a lot to us; to lose them like that has done a number on my whole family.”
Miss Pryce said Rosie’s death did not at first seem suspicious. A neighbour had seen her go down in the field, which runs parallel to a footpath, and it was assumed she had suffered a natural death due to her age.
“We cried for Rosie but she had had a good life, we couldn’t have asked for better,” Miss Pryce said.
“But to lose her daughter, Tia, and Sharifa, so soon and in the same circumstances, is heartbreaking.
“We’d had Rosie 15 years and she was never going to leave us. Tia was our champion mare; she’d won titles at breed championships and was fantastic, and Sharifa was going to be the best possible mum as she loved foals.
“We’ve got sons of Tia and Sharifa but no girls; there’s nothing to continue their lines.”
The stud sent the younger mares for autopsies, and a toxicology test has been carried out on Sharifa, although the results are not yet available.
“I believe someone came in and killed them,” Miss Pryce said. “Three fit and healthy horses don’t just drop dead naturally.
“We’re hoping to get an answer from the toxicology, but we might never get one, and whoever did this might not get caught.
“But if nothing else, the more I can raise awareness – there are other horses near here and I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this – the less likely it is to happen again.”
An RSPCA spokesman said: “The RSPCA has been made aware of the deaths of three horses in the Great Shelford area.
“The deaths are being treated as suspicious and we are liaising with police and offering support to the horses’ owners in trying to establish what has happened.
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“We would urge anyone with any information to get in touch with our inspectorate appeal line by calling 0300 1238018.”
The field lies next to a footpath between Chaston Road and Granhams Road. Anyone with information can alternatively call police on 101, quoting reference CF0596401216.