Intruders who burned a riding school pony with cigarettes and beat her with branches have been described as “psychopaths” by the centre’s manager.

Highland Crystal was found wounded early on Tuesday morning (4 July), at Sunshine Riding School, Luton.

Manager Kimberly McGuinness said she first thought the 10-year-old mare had been rubbed by her tack.

“I was about to give all sorts of mouth to the grooms,” she told H&H.

“Then I realised there was one the same on the other side and two by her eyes, all perfectly round, and one on her bum. I called the vet immediately.

“Crystal’s the most wonderful, beautiful mare; she’s lovely and what’s happened is killing us.”

As well as the burns, it appears 13.1hh Crystal was beaten with branches.

“We couldn’t touch her right side,” Kimberly said. “She’s lame on her left hind – we think from trying to defend herself – she’s been beaten with sticks and branches on her belly and hindquarters. It’s just horrific.”

Kimberly explained that Crystal had spent the night out, in a secluded field, as her neighbour “had an opinion” and kicked the stable wall, which needed to be repaired.

“We found the branches and sticks in the field, and what we think is one of the cigarettes used to burn her,” she added. “We’ve given it to the police for DNA testing; we need to get this sicko.”

Crystal is having some days off work to recover, while being given “lots of love” in the hope the incident will not have damaged her view of people in general.

“We’re heartbroken,” Kimberly said. “She’s the one we always use for the nervous, timid riders.



“She’s an absolute angel and I didn’t bring her here for her to be abused like this; I’ve told the police I’m prosecuting.

“I also want everyone out there to be aware, and take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their horses.”

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