Baffled owner’s warning as ponies’ forelocks and tails chopped off in field

  • The owner of three ponies who were tied to a tree while their forelocks and tails were hacked off says she is baffled as to who would do such a thing.

    Rhianon Loader’s former Shetland Pony Grand National ride Apollo and two show ponies were targeted in their field on 17 March.

    Rhianon told H&H she called the five ponies to her as she climbed the gate into the field, and the first two to approach had not been touched.

    “The other two who had been cut were show types so it wasn’t hugely obvious,” she said.

    “I saw their tails, and thought it was odd — then I saw the Shetland.

    Apollo’s thick forelock had been chopped short. His tail had not been touched but the others’ tails had been cut to hock length.

    “My first reaction was shock,” Rhianon said. “I walked round the field into the back half, which is full of trees. I thought no one would have gone in there but then I found the hair on the ground, and a headcollar still tied to a tree. They must have got the headcollars from the gate, caught the ponies and tied them up. I got a bit emotional after that.”

    Rhianon believes the incident must have occurred in daylight, for those responsible to have been able to see what they were doing.

    “It’s so odd,” she said. “I live in a really lovely village, where everyone knows everyone and everything, and watches out, so for it not to have been spotted is surprising.”

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    Rhianon reported the incident to police, who said they would keep their eyes open, but is unsure on what else to do for the best.

    “I want other people in the area to be aware, and I’ve got some in-foal brood mares not far away, who I’m keeping a close eye on,” she said.

    “Thankfully, I can see a funny side but if I’d still been racing Apollo, I’m not sure I’d be able to, looking like that.”

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