A man has been banned from keeping equines for four years after a horse in his care was found in a “suffering state”.

Stephen John Challis, of Brickfield Lane, Burnham, Slough, was sentenced at Reading Magistrates’ Court on 17 March after he was convicted at trial of three animal welfare offences.

Former RSPCA Inspector, Rachel Smith, led the investigation for the animal welfare charity.

“Even from a distance I could see how thin Bonny was; her ribs, spine, hips and pelvis were prominent,” she said.

“She had a dirty bandage on her front left leg and her knee appeared swollen. Her hooves were long, with both front hooves split in several places indicating a lack of recent appropriate farriery care.

“I arranged for a vet to examine the mare who confirmed she was in a suffering state. Removing her bandage revealed an old infected wound that was green and smelt.

“Despite receiving treatment for her emaciated condition and injury, Bonny deteriorated further and sadly a vet recommended it would be in her best interest to put her to sleep”.

Challis confirmed he had not had a vet attend “for a long time” and said he trimmed Bonny’s hooves himself. He denied being the owner or person responsible for Bonny but accepted that he had acted as her carer for the past 15-20 years by way of his daily feeding and maintenance of her.

In addition to the four year disqualification from keeping equines, a District Judge sentenced him to 16 weeks imprisonment concurrent for each offence, suspended for 12 months, ordered him to undertake 180 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 costs.