Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a mountain and moorland stallion was found doped at the Northern Horse Show.
Tammy Heathcote, owner of 13.2hh Welsh section B Roseberry Model Man, or “Magic”, called the show vet at 8am on Sunday, 22 June when her pony appeared “wobbly and unstable”.
Blood tests taken by attending vet Natalie Duddy show traces of pentobarbital in the four-year-old pony’s system, a drug used to euthanase small animals.
Ms Duddy told H&H: “He looked like a horse that had been lightly sedated — his head was low and eyes half closed.”
She added that although it was difficult to say when and how the drug was administered, it does not occur naturally and is normally injected.
Mrs Heathcote told H&H that the pony was on a lorry belonging to the producer — whom she did not wish to name — with another horse. She said they were left alone for 10 minutes after arriving at Grange Park, Wetherby.
“How someone can do this is unbelieveable,” she said. “This is a lesson for people not to leave their ponies unattended.”
Show organiser David Hind said Grange Park only has one entrance and exit — both stewarded.
He said: “Show organisers can’t be responsible for every animal at all times.”
He added that, as a gesture of goodwill, without accepting any liability, Mrs Heathcote’s entry fees had been refunded.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire police said the incident is being investigated.
The stallion had made a full recovery by Monday morning.
If you have any information, contact 0845 6060606.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (10 July, ’08)