A man from West Sussex who allowed one horse to die and neglected four others so badly that two were destroyed has this week been given a three-month suspended jail sentence and a life ban on keeping horses.

Conrad Ryder Large, 53, of Mascalls Lane, Lindfield near Haywards Heath appeared at Crawley Magistrates Court on Monday (23 August) to be sentenced for horse cruelty.

In September 2009, inspectors from World Horse Welfare and the RSPCA found four horses in a field at Ryder Large’s premises, along with the carcass of a black and white stallion.

All of the horses were overweight and had overgrown feet. A 13.2hh chestnut mare (pictured) was suffering from severe laminitis and was so lame she could hardly move.

All four horses were taken into the care of World Horse Welfare. One of the black stallions and the chestnut mare have since been put to sleep, the first due to a severe attack of colic and the latter because of ongoing laminitis.

The black and white mare, now named Ruby, and the remaining stallion, Rascal, are undergoing rehabilitation at World Horse Welfare’s centre in Norfolk.

Ryder Large, who has previous convictions for horse cruelty, had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing on 30 June to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

Deputy District Court Judge Adrian Turner described Ryder Large as: “Eccentric, stubborn and stupid” when giving him the two-year suspended sentence on Monday.

Although Ryder Large was also sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work, the judge did not fine the offender or award costs to the RSPCA or World Horse Welfare, due to £6,000 still outstanding from costs imposed on him after a previous court case.

World Horse Welfare inspector Ted Barnes said after the hearing: “I am disappointed the judge was unable to reimburse both the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare the large sums in costs that we have both incurred, but his reasoning was sound.”