Top hackney breeder David “Noddy” Vyse has admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two elderly mares.

But he told H&H he pleaded guilty because he could not afford to fight the case.

Mr Vyse, of Hedgehill, Enfield, was fined £3,000 with £2,514 costs for six counts involving two elderly hackneys, at St Albans Magistrates Court on 21 February.

The RSPCA told the court that 27-year-old Sunbeam Sapphire and 28-year-old Sunbeam Maybe were in a severely emaciated state when found in October 2011.

Neither mare was able to graze efficiently and were put to sleep.

Sapphire also had an abcessed tooth and Maybe had a large mass of sarcoids under her tail.

Mr Vyse told H&H he had bred both mares and had wanted them to see out their lives on his land.

“The RSPCA looked over more than 100 of my horses and found two very old mares that were thin,” he said.

I do not ill-treat animals. Both mares had had their teeth done four months earlier.”

But RSPCA inspector Kirsty Withnall told H&H: “The mares were in a horrific condition – emaciated and depressed.”

Mr Vyse is the son of Fred Vyse, who set up the Sunbeam Hackney Stud in 1963, and with his wife Maria and daughter Chaise, breeds under the prefix Noddyvyse.

Their horses have won 131 championships at the National Hackney Show since 1980.

A dispersal sale was held at the stud last July after they lost a large part of their grazing.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (1 March 2012)