Fat Face, which specialises in bright, sporty clothes, ran an advert in its latest brochure that showed a male model on horseback, without a riding hat, wearing incorrect footwear and jabbing the reins, appearing to cause the animal pain.
But after receiving around 20 complaints — and monitoring online blogs — the firm removed the advert from the internet and catalogues are being taken out of stores.
A company spokesman told H&H: “Fat Face would never intentionally cause harm to any animal or person and apologises for any upset caused to horse lovers and customers.
“So much so that we’ve decided not to use horses in any photography in future.
“We will also ensure that, on all shoots where models engage in activities that require safety equipment, they are dressed appropriately.”
H&H received several complaints from readers about the advert.
Tricia Flanigan emailed: “I am so disgusted with the new Fat Face autumn brochure.
“A male model wearing trainers and no hat is riding a pony very badly, yanking it in the mouth; the terror in the poor pony’s eye is upsetting.
“What a marketing faux pas for a company aimed at young people.”
The Fat Face spokesman added: “Fat Face is the last firm to want to offend people — it’s simply not in our DNA. We are not a faceless corporation.”
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (1 October, ’09)