HorseWorld at Whitchurch Village has written to local residents after a group of teenagers removed electric fencing, putting ponies and themselves at risk.
In their letter this week the team at the charity in Staunton Lane, which cares for mistreated and abandoned horses, ponies and donkeys, said: “It is with a heavy heart that we must ask you to speak to any young people under your care about the dangers of trespassing onto land and interfering with horses.
“Over the weekend one of our electric fences was taken down; an act which not only resulted in a number of animals being put at risk of becoming very ill but could have also resulted in serious injury for the protagonists.
“On Saturday afternoon (27th March) we encountered four young teenagers trespassing in one of our fields. Our welfare team tried to talk to them but were met with a barrage of abuse and accused of being ‘cruel’ for keeping the ponies on a smaller piece of land using electric tape fencing.
“The ponies in question including Sox, (pictured) have ongoing health issues which mean they need restricted grazing. Far from being cruel, it keeps them healthy whilst providing them with plenty of other sources of food and space to keep active.
“The young people subsequently wandered off, but on Sunday morning we found that a huge section of the fence had been taken down.
“Not only did this action put the lives of our ponies at risk, but the people in question could have also been seriously hurt. Horses by their nature are unpredictable animals and can cause serious harm if taken by surprise. A person could easily be trampled, kicked or worse.
“Due to the traumatic past many of our rescued horses have experienced, if they feel at all threatened, they are highly likely to try and protect themselves, even if the ‘threat’ is only a small adult. Obviously these animals are kept in fields which do not have public access, but trespassers could be putting themselves at significant risk.”
The HorseWorld team add: “We very much hope to be able to welcome you all on site later this year for one of our Open Days when we’ll be able to show you first-hand the lengths we have to go to try and keep our rescued horses happy and healthy. But until then, if you can help us by sharing this information with the young people in your household, so that they and our ponies stay safe, we’d be very grateful.”