A woman has won £5,000 compensation from a horse transport company that bandaged her pony’s tail for the duration of a four-day journey.
As a result the tail developed gangrene and had to be amputated.
Elizabeth Russell says the six-year-old Welsh mountain pony stallion Gartconnel Warrior has been “ruined”.
“He’s very cold in the winter and riddled with flies in the summer.
“He is a top-quality show animal but has been disfigured and can’t be used,” she added.
Mrs Russell bred the pony at her Gartconnel Stud near Glasgow and sold him to France. When she heard he was up for sale, she bought him back as a wedding present for her daughter, who had shown him in-hand as a yearling.
In October 2010 she arranged transportation from Albi in south-west France through Eurosports Horses, which is based in Salisbury.
After a four-day journey, Warrior was delivered to a friend in Leicestershire, who told Mrs Russell the tail bindings had to be cut off.
Within days, it was clear his tail and dock were infected.
Amputation was recommended to prevent it spreading up his spine.
“A wonderful animal has been mutiliated,” Mrs Russell told H&H.
“The people working for companies that transport animals are supposed to be trained in animal care. If they were, they would know you should not put a tail bandage on for a journey that long.
“He has nothing left — I can’t even drive him as there’s not enough room for a crupper.”
Equine lawyer Mary Ann Charles of Shaw and Co negotiated a settlement of £5,000 from the firm.
“I’m glad to get something — it covers the cost of the transport, the legal fees and the vet,” said Mrs Russell. “It was agony for the animal, standing in a lorry for that length of time [with] his tail bound so tight.”
Warrior needs to be “doused in fly spray” in warm weather, but is otherwise fit and healthy.
“But he can’t do the job he was bred for, which is in-hand and under saddle showing,” said Mrs Russell.
The amputation has also incurred a loss of stud income as his lack of showing means fewer people know about him, she said, adding that his first foals will arrive this year.
Eurosports Horses could not be reached for comment.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (21 March 2013)