Police are appealing for witnesses after a pony let out of his field suffered fatal injuries in a subsequent fall.
The 13hh cob owned by the founders of a rescue centre in Cornwall went through two barbed wire fences and fell into a river, where he was found, in shock. He was put down as a result of his injuries.
The six-year-old gelding, Braeburns, was bought by Shires Holt owners Pip and Kerrie Lovelock for their children to ride.
On 1 July a neighbour told Mr Lovelock the pony was in the river unable to move.
It is thought the pony had been let out of his field and driven down steep woodland ravines through thorn bushes into the river.
“He was lying down in the river, shivering and suffering from shock. He couldn’t get up, so I offered him a bucket of food and he started eating,” Mr Lovelock told H&H.
The Delabole community fire service arrived within 15 minutes, but the eight-strong team could not get the pony up.
The specialists large animal rescue team and a vet were contacted and the pony was pulled out of the river.
The vet found no injury so gave Braeburns a sedative and some anti-inflammatories, but by 10pm the pony was still unable to get up, so Mr Lovelock stayed with him overnight.
By the morning his condition was unchanged so it was decided there was no choice but to put him down.
“The vet took the view there was some spinal damage stopping his rear leg working. It was tragic, the pony was the kindest horse I’ve ever known,” said Mr Lovelock.
A Devon and Cornwall police spokesman said: “We are appealing for witnesses after a pony died after being released from its field in Trewarmett, Tintagel, on Friday, 1 July.
“The incident took place between 3pm and 5.30pm and it appears the pony was released from its enclosure.
“The animal fled and ran through two barbed wired fences before falling down a six-foot slope into a river where it was fatally injured.
Anyone who saw anything suspicious should call 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting crime reference CR/045440/16
The owners of Braeburns are offering a reward to anyone who can give more information.
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Shires Holt has been working with Defra vets and the newly formed Bodmin Moor Commons Council to assist with the welfare of the moorland ponies.
Since Christmas the Lovelocks have been asked to look after 40 ponies from the moor.
Singer Will Young is a supporter of the rescue centre’s work and has agreed to look after a small herd of up to ten ponies and a foal on his smallholding on Bodmin this summer.