Appeal to catch “joy-riders”

The owner of a riding stables in Kilmarnock is appealing for anyone with information to come forward after she stopped two “joy riders” from riding off with her competition horse and a livery’s pony.

Margaret Ross has owned Dean Castle Riding Stables for the last 21 years and lives on a bungalow on site. She was woken up in the early hours of Saturday morning (7 June) by her two dogs, who were barking frantically.

“I woke up and immediately realised that something must be happening in the yard,” explains Margaret.”I rushed out and saw one of the stable doors open, I could hear hooves on the road so, thinking the horses had escaped, I grabbed some feed in a bucket and headcollar and ran out into the lane.”

To her horror, Margaret saw her competition horse Duke, a 17.1hh Irish Draught cross Thoroughbred gelding, being ridden along the lane bareback in a headcollar, while a young child rode Danny Boy, a livery’s pony.

“I was shaking the bucket when I saw Duke and the pony being ridden up the lane. Duke heard the feed bucket and tried to turn round so I shouted at them: ‘What are you doing with my horses?’ “

Margaret phoned the police on her mobile phone and reported the attempted theft. As she was doing so, the young child jumped off the pony, closely followed by the adult, who then shooed the horses away before running off.

“Luckily, Duke and the pony came clattering back down the road towards me and I managed to catch them,” explains Margaret. “The police arrived on the scene within minutes but couldn’t find any trace of the strangers.”

Duke and Danny Boy, an 11.2hh Fjord cross, were returned to their stables safe and well but the incident has left Margaret shaken.

“I have been here for 21 years and nothing like this has ever happened before. We have had CCTV cameras installed as well as intruder beams but what I really want to know is what they were planning on doing with the horses.

“The weekend it happened was the start of Appleby horse fair and police think that it’s possible that Duke and Danny Boy were being ridden to a horsebox where the would have been loaded up and driven away, possibly to the sales.”

A spokesperson for the police confirmed that they were investigating the incident, saying: “If anyone has any information they should contact us immediately on 01563 505036.”

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