A mass-organised local search took place on Saturday 23 May to look for a former hunter that has been missing in unexplained circumstances since Wednesday 20 May.

Twenty-eight-year-old Josh went missing from his field in Sherston, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, and despite a large-scale search by local volunteers, there is still no sign of the 17.2hh bay gelding (pictured, above).

The disappearance has caused an amazing response on social media with pictures of the horse with a distinctive Roman nose being shared around the country in hope that somebody may recognise him. There are fears that Josh has been stolen and may appear for sale in other areas of the country.

Formerly ridden by Nigel Maidment, secretary of the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, Josh is now in semi-retirement and was being looked after by Lottie Bostock. Part of his lighter duties following his hunting career, have been to teach Lottie’s husband Guy to ride.

“I last saw him on Tuesday night and when he was checked again on Wednesday he had disappeared,” said Mrs Bostock.

Described as a gentle giant, the horse is well known among members who regularly hunt with the Gloucestershire pack of hounds.

A spokesperson for the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt told H&H: “We all searched high and low this morning in the fields and thickets, including in some of the neighbours fields as well but there is still no sign of him. We are so worried about what has happened to the poor old lad and just want to know he is safe. Josh is very much loved and both the Maidment and Bostock families desperately want him back,”

Wiltshire police are investigating the disappearance which is being treated as suspected theft. If anyone has any information they should call the police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.