Horse dumped in British field “like a skeleton”

Emaciated Matilda was euthanised a day after being removed from a British field. Photo: British RSPCA
Emaciated Matilda was euthanised a day after being removed from a British field. Photo: British RSPCA

An animal welfare officer has labelled a case heart-breaking, after an emaciated horse found in a British field a week ago had to be euthanised.

The  RSPCA is appealing for information about the owner of the horse, who was found in a field in the Harold Hill area of Romford a week ago.

The black cob, named Matilda by staff of the RSPCA and the charity Redwings, was in the field off Lower Bedfords Road.

She was so thin that a Redwings field officer described her as being “like a skeleton”.

Veterinary examinations revealed that the horse, aged 8-12, was suffering from liver damage and her body was shutting down, leaving her so skinny that the bones in her hips and spine were visible.

Matilda had to be put to sleep the day after she was taken into care.

“I found this case absolutely heartbreaking,” Redwings senior field officer Jo Franklin said.

“Poor Matilda was like a skeleton. Her liver was damaged beyond repair and her body was shutting down; there was just nothing we could do for her. Yet she was such a fighter, she had such a sweet nature.

“Matilda didn’t deserve this – it is disgusting that anyone could allow their horse to get into such a state and not ask for help.”

The RSPCA is trying to find out who was responsible for Matilda. Inspector Virginia Ross said: “There have been horses in this particular field for years and we haven’t had to remove any due to welfare problems.

“However poor Matilda was alone in a corner and we don’t know if she had been there a long time or just left there recently.

“She had a microchip but it was an untraceable European chip so we are no closer to finding out who Matilda’s owner is.

“She had a white blaze on her face and measured no more than about 14 hands high. Her feet had been trimmed so we think there was someone looking out for her quite recently. We now need to find out who Matilda belonged to and urge anyone with specific information to come forward.”

Anyone with information should contact the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

One thought on “Horse dumped in British field “like a skeleton”

  • February 8, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Its not surprising that people aren’t asking for help when they are then told that the only cases that will be taken in by the charities are the extreme ones. Animals who are suffering from neglect or that have been abandoned. Both of these things are prosecutable offences and people have and will be prosecuted if they are caught. So if you cannot afford to feed your horse, or pay £100 for the kennels to put it to sleep, or £170 for the vet to do it and no one wants the horse what are you supposed to do? This is currently a no win situation. Anyone who cares about their horse isn’t going to starve it half to death just so it is guaranteed a place at one of the welfare centre. I am currently well over stocked having closed my riding school but we have maxed out credit cards, sold everything we can and will continue to find a way to pay for the all of the horses until the situation alleviates, but what if it doesn’t? I know if it comes to the crunch and the choice is between food on our table and a roof over their head that I will put my family first.


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