An emaciated mare, whose lice infection led to hair loss, is being rehabilitated at World Horse Welfare’s Norfolk centre after her owner admitted causing her to suffer.

Jennifer Balmforth, 67, of Twickenham, Middlesex has been disqualified from keeping horses for 10 years.

Ms Balmforth appeared at Reigate Magistrates Court on Wednesday (12 October), where she was also was ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work, and pay a total of £4,261 in costs.

She had pleaded guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for causing unnecessary suffering to Iggi, a 23 year-old 16.2hh bay mare, at an earlier hearing.

The court heard how World Horse Welfare field officer Ted Barnes received a call from a concerned member of the public on Monday 11 April this year about the poor condition of a horse in a field along Chalk Lane in Epsom, Surrey.

The following day, Mr Barnes, RSPCA Inspector Liz Wheeler, a vet and a local police officer, found Iggi in a very thin condition and suffering with hair loss.

She was removed from the site and later was signed over to World Horse Welfare.

Mr Barnes said: “Ms Balmforth had a clear disregard for the welfare of her horse. The disqualification will hopefully go some way to deter her from ever owning equines again.

“Iggi was in such a poor condition and if left in the care of Ms Balmforth I am sure she would have deteriorated even further.”