A reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer of an international showjumper has reportedly reached $30,000.
Twelve-year-old gelding Phedras De Blondel was found slaughtered at his owners’ farm in Palmetto, Florida, at around 7am on Sunday (25 October).
He was found with his legs and part of his body removed.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Department believe the horse was killed for meat.
Now Star Trek actor William Shatner, who is a keen rider, is among those who have pledged money to help catch the killer.
According to news channels in Florida he has donated $5,000 to the reward for information lead to the suspect’s arrest.
The horse was removed from his pen between 8.30pm on Saturday (24 October) and 6.45am on Sunday (25 October).
Phedras De Blondel, by Fetiche Du Pas and out of Belphegor IV, had been bought from France by US rider Debbie Stephens and her husband Steve, an Olympic course-designer.
The couple have also raised around $18,000 according to US press reports.
Phedras De Blondel had only arrived in the USA a few days earlier and had left quarantine at Miami airport on Thursday night.
“This horse was not cut up by a beginner. It was professional butcher that did this. He knew exactly where to go to dismember the animal which is the sad part,” Mr Stephens told local press.
Officers believe the horse was targeted because of its size. Buying or selling horse meat in Florida is illegal.
Dave Bristow of the Sheriff’s Department told local press: “We are hoping someone saw something unusual, an unusual car or truck in the area. The farm is not that far from the highway.
“We have never had a case like this that I can remember.
“It’s grisly. There has been a case in the Palm Beach County area involving a slaughterhouse, but nothing like that here.”
Prior to the move the horse had been competed by French showjuper Christian Hermon. The pair last competed at the CSI2* in Auvers in August, finishing 14th.