A Devon woman has been banned from keeping horses for a year and ordered to pay £27,000 after pleading guilty to charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

Diana Curtis, 53, was sentenced at Barnstaple Magistrates Court on 17 June. She was found guilty of neglect of a group of 14 ponies, which were removed by the RSPCA from Windscott Farm, Devon, in December 2011. Many of the ponies were foals or youngsters, and all were in poor condition, seriously underweight and infested with worms and lice.

The ponies were taken into rescue centres with World Horse Welfare and the RSPCA. The owner was told to improve conditions for the remaining 17 ponies.

Jeff Herrington, World Horse Welfare south west field officer, attended the site.

The circumstances they were living in were abysmal,” he said. “The ponies were standing in pools of slurry, and there was no feed to be found anywhere. I could see the trees had been stripped where the ponies were trying to get some sustenance.”

Windscott Yogie after World Horse Welfare rehab

Two part-Arab foals were taken to Glenda Spooner Farm, a World Horse Welfare rescue and rehoming centre in Somerset. While Windscott Yogie (pictured above) has now been rehomed, Windscott Wendy (pictured below) is seeking a new home.

Windscott Wendy after World Horse Welfare rehab

The manager, Claire Phillips, said: “Windscott Yogie and Windscott Wendy came into our care as extremely thin, completely unhandled and very nervous youngsters. Yogie was only just weaned and was extremely scared of the world around her.

“It took a lot of consistent and gentle care before Yogie learn to trust humans again. Today she is much more confident and relaxed and has become very inquisitive. Wendy is just as adorable.”

Princess Anne handed Windscott Yogie to her rehomer earlier this month at a special reception to unveil plans for expanded facilities at Glenda Spooner Farm, which has been overstocked for much of the year due to excessive demand for rehoming.