The owner of a pony who had to be put down after he was beaten about the head with a fence post has appealed for help in finding those responsible.

Sarah Barker’s 28-year-old gelding Chester was found struggling to breathe and foaming at the mouth yesterday morning (28 September).

It is believed he had been let out of his field overnight, and hit with a wooden fence stake which had been pulled out of the ground.

The vet told Sarah the blow had damaged nerves and caused Chester’s soft palate to collapse, which was slowly suffocating him.

“He had no idea what he was doing,” Sarah told H&H. “He was walking in circles, dripping with sweat and couldn’t breathe.

“It took 15 minutes to get him to move 200 yards, having to push and pull him along. He was falling over, spinning, he couldn’t stand up properly.

“The only thing we could do for him was to put him to sleep. I’d had him 24 years.”

Sarah said the intruders had taken down electric fencing separating her field into paddocks and led Chester to the boundary, where they cut another fence and tried to take the pony through it.

“It looks like then they hit him,” she said.

“This has ripped me to pieces, I’m devastated. It feels like I’ve lost a child as I’d had him since I was a kid. I don’t understand why anyone would do it.

“He was an amazing horse, who taught so many people to ride over the years. He was retired, but would go for a gentle ride every now and then – he went out last week – and he loved it, he had so much life left in him.

“He was so trusting. He must have gone up to these people thinking: ‘Where are we going?’ and then maybe had a bit of a panic and they just went: crack.”

Sarah has appealed for anyone with information to contact police, who are investigating the incident.

“These people are evil, rotten – I just want them caught,” she said.

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“I want them to realise what they’ve done. This wasn’t just killing a horse, he was a member of the family, it’s murder.

“Chester was a fit old boy, full of life and such an innocent, genuine chap – it shouldn’t have ended like this.”

Anyone with information should call 101, quoting incident 511 of 28 September 2016, or email