A rider is urging local owners to be vigilant after her horse had the back of his foot sliced off in what is believed to have been an unexplained attack.
Pembrokeshire-based Gwen Bridge found her 26-year-old hunter Yanto standing in a pool of blood, with the bulb and back of his offside hind foot missing.
Gwen later located the rear portion of the foot in the three-acre field the chestnut gelding shares with his pony companion.
“I found Yanto in the late afternoon and wondered as I approached what the matter was as he was standing oddly — I had a look and just thought ‘Oh my God’,” Gwen explained. “I called the vet out straight away and he said ‘well it’s not wire, it’s something that has sliced through with one blow in a downwards motion, almost like a guillotine’.”
Initially the vet suggested putting the chestnut part-thoroughbred down owing to the severity of the wound at his age but because of his excellent physical condition, the decision was taken to try and save him.
“We’ve got him on box rest on rubber mats that we are mucking out several times a day and have basically been cleaning the wound and keeping it dry. He’s on antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and painkillers,” Gwen said.
“He’s holding his own at the moment but the great fear is that he will get an infection and that will be it. He’s missing sections of his coronary band, so the hoof won’t regrow there and the ligament round the back of the bulb has gone, so presumably the foot will deform later as it spreads out.
“The pedal bone capsule was grazed but still intact and the sole was also still intact, so that was something. He’s also still got full flexion which is amazing.”
Gwen made the horrific discovery on 22 December and later reported it to Dyfed Police, whose rural crime team attended the scene.
“We explored the field minutely to see if there was any kind of protrusion that could have caused it but there was nothing. The field is bordered by sheep netting and post and rail all the way round. Nothing had been pulled and there was nothing sharp anywhere,” Gwen said. “In the absence of any other evidence, the rural crime officer treated it as deliberate.”
Gwen can’t think of any motive for the senseless attack which she said left her “raging” and feeling “very sorry for poor Yants”.
“There was no other physical harm done to him but he was in so much pain and very subdued,” she said. “He’s such a kind horse that a complete stranger could go up to him without any fear and he’d probably lift his foot for them.
“Some horses you wouldn’t want to walk round their back end but with him, you can sit on a stool under his belly and clip him.
Rider saved by brave horse after giant crocodile attacks in Australian river
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
Police are appealing for information on he incident
“I will try my best to find out who did it and make sure they throw the book at them.”
Gwen added that she would not normally have chosen to publicise what happened but that reports of another local case where a pony was hit over the head and killed had prompted her to try and make sure there were no further incidents.
Dyfed Powys police has issued an appeal over social media for anyone with information to come forward.
Anyone with information is asked to report it by calling 101 and quoting reference: DPP/3786/24/12/2018/02/C.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.