Police have arrested two 18-year-old men following a vicious attack on a horse which led to her being put down.

Maggie, a piebald mare, was found lying in her field at Essington Hall Farm in Staffordshire at 8am on 14 April with four separate injuries inflicted with what police believe to have been a “sharp bladed instrument”.

The 19-year-old cob suffered a severed tendon, a five-inch wound to her neck, a superficial cut to her near shoulder and a broken leg.

Vet Stephen Woodcock, who was called to the scene, told H&H the injuries were “horrible, to say the very least”.

He added that it was impossible to say whether the broken leg was caused maliciously or whether Maggie inflicted the injury upon herself in her efforts to get away.

Both Mr Woodcock and police officers, who were called to the scene by a friend of Maggie’s owner, searched the field and found nothing that could have caused the injuries.

Mr Woodcock, from EC Straiton & Partners in Penkridge, Staffordshire, told H&H: “In 23 years I haven’t seen anything like it — there is little or no chance that a horse could do these injuries to itself.”

Vet Stephen Woodcock put Maggie down after a consultation with the horse’s owner, Davina Bowyer, who had owned the mare since she was 18 months old.

The attack took place in a field at the farm on Bognop Road on the outskirts of Essington, which contained several other horses, although Maggie, who was kept in a fenced off section was the only horse injured.

PC Darren Munnerley from Staffordshire Police said: “This is an act of mindless barbaric cruelty. In 17 years as a police officer I have never dealt with an incident of this severity against an animal.”

The pair, from Wednesfield near Wolverhampton, has been released on bail. Police said they were still looking for at least two other suspects.

If you have any further information contact PC Munnerley (tel: 08453 302010)