Case Snapshot
Case ID: 2910
Classification: Beating
Animal: horse
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Sunday, Sep 28, 2003

Disposition: Dismissed

Person of Interest: Lorna Ashelford

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A pony that refused to go into its horsebox was beaten for 15 minutes before it split its skull in a fall and died, a court heard on Nov 4, 2004. Fanta, a bay mare, was put down by a vet after suffering horrific injuries at a charity event at Badminton Estate, Gloucestershire in September.

"Stubborn" Fanta was hit with a yard-long piece of piping by top point-to-point trainer Robert Rowsell in an attempt to get it into the horsebox, Yate Magistrates' Court heard.

Former jockey Rowsell, 33, of Pontypridd, denies causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The horse's owner Lorna Ashelford, 26, also from Pontypridd, is charged with permitting the pony to be subjected to cruelty.

The pony had refused to enter its horsebox after a 10-mile charity ride on September 28.

In transcripts from police interviews the court heard that Fanta was surrounded by a group of people who took turns to beat the animal with a riding crop.

Witness Trudy Ough watched as Rowsell and Ashelford tried to get Fanta into her box.

She said that the pony was refusing to move and that Ashelford was hitting it with a riding crop.

After the pony failed to budge other people from Ashelford's group surrounded the animal in an attempt to move it.

She said: "The horse continued to rear up, there was a group of people around the animal.

"They took turns to whip the pony in an attempt to box it."

The horse reared up and fell backwards twice before it was attached to a rope leading into the horsebox.

Trudy Ough said that Rowsell then moved to the pony's rear and started to beat it with a length of blue pipe striking the animal seven or eight times.

She added: "The pony reared up again and fell to its left-hand side striking its head on a horsebox.

"The horse struck its head because the man beat it with the blue pipe."

The court heard that Fanta suffered a six-inch fracture to its skull and was shot shortly after by vet Charlotte Briggs.

Ashelford, who said she never saw Rowsell beat the horse with the blue pipe, told the police: "Fanta hit her head and as she went down I saw blood coming out of her.

"The horse just looked drunk. It was horrible."

The court heard that Fanta had never been in a horsebox until the day of the charity ride.

Ashelford said the pony was "very stubborn" and had a "nasty habit of rearing up".

Case Updates

North Avon Magistrates' Court cleared Robert Rowsell, of Pontypridd, south Wales, now a top trainer, of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The owner, Laura Ashelford, also of Pontypridd, was found not guilty of permitting the pony to be subjected to cruelty.

The pony, Fanta, fell and split its skull after a 10-mile charity ride at the Beaufort Estate in Badminton, Gloucestershire in September 2003.

Ms Ashelford had admitted using a lunge whip on the pony Fanta when she refused to go into her horsebox after the ride.

Mr Rowsell denied using a blue pipe to beat the pony.

A witness said the pony reared up and fell to its left-hand side striking its head on a horsebox.
Source: BBC News - Nov 8, 2004
Update posted on Nov 9, 2004 - 2:13PM 


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