Farrier who carried out 'barbaric and cruel' hammer attack on horse sentenced in Cheltenham

Scott Manson struck the horse nine times with his hammer in a prolonged attack Credit: RSPCA

A professional farrier who carried out a 'barbaric and cruel' attack on a horse he was supposed to be helping has been sentenced for animal cruelty.

Scott Manson was caught on CCTV hitting the horse with a hammer nine times over a period of six and a half minutes.

The 34-year-old has been banned from working with animals and was given a suspended prison sentenced at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court on Monday (20 March).

Manson, of Whitecross Cottages, Bridstow, Ross on Wye, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty at an earlier hearing.

On 1 April 2022, the farrier was employed to re-shoe a customer's horses but lost his temper and repeatedly struck one of the animal's so hard that his hammer broke.

The victim of the attack was also tethered and unable to escape the blows, which Manson aimed at its front legs.

Unaware he had been caught on CCTV, Manson informed the owner that their horse had broken his hammer, but surprised that their usually docile horse had acted out, the owner decided to review video caught by their camera in the yard.

Upon checking the horse over for injuries, they found its right front leg was bigger than usual and there were various marks on both front legs and around the shin area. The fur had also been taken off and the shin exposed.

The horse was left with cuts to it's front legs, where it was struck on the bone with the hammer Credit: RSPCA

Equine vet: Attack was 'unprovoked, unacceptable and completely unnecessary'

Solicitor Lindi Meyer, who represented the RSPCA in court, described what the specialist equine vet concluded in their report after viewing the footage.

She said: “He repeatedly beat the horse around the forelimbs of the legs where there is very little in the way of soft tissue covering and as such the blows were almost directly to the bone. This would have been incredibly painful for the horse and the farrier is very fortunate not to haven caused fractures of any of the limbs.

“The horse was hit nine times viciously in a six and a half minute video attack which left it with soft tissue swellings and cuts to the limbs. The attack was unprovoked, unacceptable and completely unnecessary and has caused this horse to suffer from both physical and psychological harm.

"The abuse falls far below what is expected of a human dealing with horses let alone a professional farrier who has been entrusted by the owners to take care of the horse.

“At no point was the farrier trying to teach the horse to stand still, pick its feet up or any other action. The actions were simply to beat the horse out of anger, a short temper, or frustration.

"Whatever the reason, the actions were so barbaric and cruel that the farrier broke the head off a hammer onto the sensitive areas of the front limbs of the horse”.

The hammer attack caused the horse physical and psychological harm, according to his vet Credit: RSPCA

Following the attack, the horse was reluctant to allow his owner to touch his legs and had to be sedated twice by the vet when the new farrier came. He was also afraid to go back into his stable and was wary of people, but has since recovered.

Although pleading guilty, Manson said he was remorseful, and that he was stressed as he was visiting his dying mother in Scotland twice a week at the time.

Manson has been given a 12 week suspended prison sentence, a ten year animal ban, a 150 hours of unpaid work and 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirements (RAR) days. He must also pay £400 costs and a £128 victim surcharge.