Police are hunting for the person who shot and maimed a seven-month-old prize-winning foal in a “horrific attack” at a remote farm.

Shire horse Cara was blasted with a shotgun at close range while she was being sheltered by her mother at Buckhurst Farm, near Ramsbottom, in Lancashire.

Experts fear that Cara, who was exhibited recently at the Peterborough Show, may be left with long-term breathing and feeding difficulties.

She is being treated at Liverpool University’s veterinary hospital.

Police are appealing for any riders, ramblers and mountain bikers who might have seen or heard anything at the time of the attack overnight of 9/10 April will come forward.

Detective Sargeant Nikki Bithell, of Rossendale CID, said: “This was a heinous crime which has left a defenceless animal with horrific injuries.

“The motive for the attack is not known at this stage but we are following up several lines of inquiry.

We believe this was an isolated attack and don’t believe that other horse owners are at risk.”

She added: “We need to catch the person responsible for this terrible atrocity which has left an animal maimed. Its trust of humans will, without doubt, be affected, possibly for life.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Rossendale CID on 01706 237347 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.