1. ITV Report

Woman who rode emaciated horse at equestrian event sentenced at court

Owner Charlotte McPherson aged 22, of Park Lane, Kidderminster, appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court today Photo: RSPCA.

Charlotte McPherson aged 22, of Park Lane, Kidderminster, appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court today to be sentenced for two offences.

She was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a horse by failing to investigate and treat the cause of his poor body condition, and failing to take steps to ensure that the needs of the animal were met, by failing to protect him from pain, suffering, injury and disease by riding him when he was not in a fit state to be ridden.

Credit: RSPCA

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

McPherson pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing in August this year.

The RSPCA were made aware of the 10-year-old thoroughbred ex-racehorse, whose racing name was Hoare Abbey but was known by his stable name of Thor, 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.”

– RSPCA inspector Suzi Smith.
Thor is in much better shape today. Credit: RSPCA

A vet examination of Thor, who was kept at stables in Stourton, 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.”

– RSPCA inspector Suzi Smith.