Horses found emaciated, lame and with an abscess at Pulborough woman’s equestrian centre
A Pulborough woman has been sentenced after horses in her care were found in poor condition.
Kate Greenhalgh, 30, has been given a 12 month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to causing suffering to four horses that were under her care.
The equine livery provider of Spinney North, appeared at Brighton Magistrates Court on June 8 to be sentenced after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing, the RSPCA said. Greenhalgh admitted five offences of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of four horses, whose owners paid her to look after on grass livery, at a premises in Haslemere, West Sussex.
A spokesman added: “She was sentenced to 12-weeks imprisonment suspended for 12-months with a requirement to perform 120 hours of unpaid work and complete 10 rehabilitation sessions. She was also ordered to pay costs £750.00, a victim surcharge of £128.00, and a compensation order to an owner of one of the horses, of £3,650.
“The RSPCA was called to the location in March 2020, after receiving reports from concerned members of the public about a collapsed horse in the field.”
The RSPCA said its national equine coordinator Inspector Becky Carter, RSPCA Inspector Kate Barnes, and World Horse Welfare’s Chief Field Officer Claire Gordon arrived to be told that the horse, known as Kai, had already been put to sleep and his body removed. But during their visit they discovered the poor condition of other horses in the surrounding fields.
Inspector Carter said: “When we arrived we checked over the horses at the site and found two of them, Adelaide and a young colt, to be in very poor body condition.
“A third horse, Val, was totally emaciated. Adelaide and Val were also suffering from really severe mud fever and rain scald - they had a lot of hair loss and sores on their coats and legs.
“The young colt was so lame he couldn’t bear weight on one leg and could barely walk. He had a very elevated heart rate indicating he was in significant pain.
“The vet discovered he had an abscess in his foot which he predicted had been in this condition for over a week, as the infection had traveled up the horse’s leg and had to be drained of a large amount of pus.
“They certified all three horses to be suffering and the Police agreed for us to remove them.”
A post-mortem on the body of the horse named Kai, who had collapsed and been euthanised before the welfare teams arrived, later revealed he had been in such poor body condition, this had likely caused his death.
Greenhalgh told the courts she had made the horses’ owners aware of their conditions, and that one horse had been seen by a vet, but the court heard she did not follow the vet’s advice, the RSPCA said. She provided evidence of purchasing food and hay for the animals, but admitted failing to provide the horses with a suitable diet, as well as adequate parasite control, and admitted failing to investigate and address their weight loss.
Following the sentencing hearing Inspector Carter added: “This was such a sad case to investigate as the poor health of the horses could have been avoided with appropriate care, and by following vet advice.
“These horses were under the care of Greenhalgh, who is a competition rider, as part of a professional arrangement through her business KG Equestrian, where she would take on horses on livery for backing, competing and sales.
“It’s particularly sad for the horses’ owners as they were under the impression their animals were being looked after. Thankfully, Adelaide, Val and the young colt were returned to their owner and have made a good recovery.”
Claire Gordon, World Horse Welfare Chief Field Officer said: “I was pleased to support the RSPCA investigation and to see Ms Greenhalgh take responsibility in court by entering a guilty plea, acknowledging the failings in the care she provided these horses. She is an experienced equine professional who failed to recognise that she had taken on more than she could manage and rejected offers of help from those concerned around her ultimately resulting in the horses in her care suffering unnecessarily. These horses had owners they could have been returned to, if she had acknowledged that she was not coping but instead she chose to allow them to suffer.”