Absolute Radio has moved to calm fears that it is planning to offer two Shetland ponies to its listeners on Monday.

Listeners to Christian O’Connell’s breakfast show this morning (11 January) heard an owner offer two Shetland ponies as part of the “Tradio” game played on air.

The game is played by a member of the public offering an unwanted item and another offering to trade an item of greater value in its place.

The ponies were offered as a trade for a tailored jacket.

Concerned horse lovers contacted the station and welfare groups to complain that it was an irresponsible act.

But a spokesman for the station told H&H that the ponies had not been accepted as a trade and the conversation had been “for entertainment purposes” only.

She said: “Absolute Radio is not giving away a pair of miniature ponies, it was spoken about on-air this morning but for entertainment purposes only. This will be clarified to listeners on Monday morning.”

Listeners will be told on Monday that a new trade is sought as the ponies could not be accepted, she said.

Tony Tyler, the deputy chief executive of World Horse Welfare, told H&H that he was relieved the swap was not going ahead.

“We see too many welfare problems that arise because people take on ponies without seeing or vetting them first, or the new owners do not have the facilities, knowledge or money to care for them.

“Ponies — no matter how small — are not toys.”