Woman pleads guilty after riding emaciated horse

A woman has been disqualified from keeping horses for 10 years after she admitted to riding an ex-racehorse when he was in an emaciated state.

Charlotte McPherson from Kidderminster, appeared in court this week to be sentenced for two offences of neglect to her horse, Thor.  

She pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Thor by failing to investigate and treat the cause of his poor body condition. She also failed to ensure that Thor's needs were met, by failing to protect him from pain, suffering, injury and disease by riding him when he wasn't in a fit state to be ridden.

As well as the 10-year disqualification order, McPherson was given a 12-month community order, ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work and pay £300 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

The RSPCA were made aware of the 10-year-old thoroughbred ex-racehorse, whose racing name was Hoare Abbey, after images of him looking underweight were posted on social media.

RSPCA inspector Suzi Smith, who investigated, said: “Thor looked incredibly thin and you could see pretty much every bone in his body. It was obvious to anyone who saw him that he was not well. A vet examined Thor and gave him a body condition of zero out of five - he was that thin.

“While in this body condition, McPherson rode him twice a week, including at a fun ride in Bissell Wood, Blakedown, in March this year, where his condition was noticed by people at the event. Not only was he thin, but he had a sore on his spine, which was directly underneath the saddle. Thor would have been in a lot of pain while he was being ridden.”

A vet examination of Thor showed that the cause of his weight loss was because of inadequate condition and a high worm egg count, as he had not been wormed properly.

“It was a slow progress to get him on the road to recovery as he would not have survived a wormer straightaway due to the condition he was in, but within five months he had put on weight and been properly wormed, where he soon showed that he had a zero worm egg count,” said Inspector Smith.

“We are so thankful to the Retraining of Racehorses charity who assisted with the veterinary costs in this case, and also to everyone in ‘Team Thor’ who provided the care and attention he needed.

“Thor has done amazingly well and he has now been rehomed. He is loving his new life and when he trots across a field, you would find it hard to believe what he was like earlier this year.”

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