Champion pony badly injured
A PRIZE-winning pony named Mate has been left badly injured just days after winning a ribbon at the North Coast National.
The 17-year-old pony was awarded Champion Shetland Stallion at the show, but he's now being treated for severe lacerations after becoming entangled in a barbed wire fence.
The pony is owned by Joan Davis, 74, and her son Peter Davis, who suffers from an intellectual disability.
Mrs Davis is sure the pony was securely tethered when they left their home in Jiggi to go to the North Coast National.
"When we left the halter was securely attached to his head, he was grazing and everything was right," she said.
"But when we got back it was horrifying. I screamed to my boys to run and get something to cut the fence."
Mrs Davis suspects the horse may have been released deliberately.
"The thing that torments me is I know that pony and he cannot undo his own halter so I do believe it was an act of foul play. All I can put it down to is straight-out bloody jealousy because we've got ponies that are very successful in the show ring," Mrs Davis said.
A vet has treated the pony with painkillers and antibiotics, but it still has deep wounds to its hindquarters.
"He was obviously zig-zagging on the fence trying to get off and it just made the cuts deeper," explained Mrs Davis.
The family had planned to enter Mate in four more regional shows, but it's now unclear whether he will fully recover, let alone parade at shows again.
The incident has been reported to police.
Mrs Davis is a widow and she survives on the pension.
She said she called the pony Mate because it has a generous nature and it is her son's best friend.
"Peter is a great little showman in the ring with his ponies and he absolutely adores Mate.
"He was very excitable at the show and he said 'Mum we won again!'"
Mrs Davis said she hopes someone can provide information on how the pony was found out of its halter.
"I'm praying someone will come forward because I just don't know why someone would hurt this pony," she said.