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Urgent appeal launched after pony found dead in field after being strangled

The devastated owners of an equestrian centre have issued an urgent appeal for witnesses after their Shetland pony was strangled to death at Stanlake Meadow.

Ten-year-old Rosie was found in her field with a cord still wrapped tightly around her neck by two dog walkers at around 6am on Wednesday, May 22.

Owners Ian Lucken and his wife Linda, who own Lands End Equestrian Centre, near Whistley Green, were immediately alerted and reported the attack to Thames Valley Police.

Ian said he believes the brutal attack was deliberately carried out, with the culprits entering the fenced-off private land and holding Rosie down, to strangle her with the cord.

“The whole family is devastated with the loss of her,” he said.

“She was one of the best workers we had.

“I can’t understand why a person would do that.”

Ian, 75, whose centre offers pony pantomime shows, said Rosie’s companion, 12-year-old Baby, who she pulled the Cinderella coach with, was by Rosie’s side following the ordeal.

“She was so upset she was pawing at the ground when they found her by the looks of it, she made a hole where she’d been pawing to try and wake her up.

“I’ve never seen a horse do that,” he added.

Ian added that this is not the first time he has encountered trouble, stating that people using the public footpath running between his fields were putting their children on the ponies, and in some cases were trying to ride them themselves.

“We were told this by a lady, that told my wife that the parents were putting their children on the ponies,” he said.

“Only two years ago, some children were sitting on the ponies, they were sitting on them and trying to ride them. They are not used to being ridden.”

Ian, whose family has been working with animals since 1960, spoke of another tragedy last year, in which his 15-year-old horse died after being chased through a field by a dog.

“Even though they are a lot bigger, the horses, than a dog they get frightened and if anything is frightening they will do anything to get away,” he said.

“It’s tried to get away and there’s a hedge and a fence there, and it ran through it and went down into the ditch.”

Ian is now appealing for anyone with any information concerning Rosie’s death to come forward.

Ian added: “If they do know something, you know it would put people’s mind at rest that the perpetrators have been caught and punished.”

In a statement, Thames Valley Police said: “Thames Valley Police is investigating a criminal damage incident in which a Shetland pony was killed in Stanlake Park.

“The incident was reported on Wednesday (22/5).

“No arrests have yet been made. Anyone with information is asked to call 101.”

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