Horse-tail horror alert

A Kelso family and their friends are shocked by the cruelty of cowards who cut off their horse’s tail and left open their field gate leading to a busy road.

Horse management graduate Sophie Bates, 21, discovered the crime when she checked on her and her brother Mick’s thoroughbred cross 15-year-old Keany and cob Clyde, 16, in their field near Maxton on Tuesday morning.

The festival rideout follower was greeted with the sight of Keany’s tail hanging from the gate (pictured).

Her mum, Jacqueline, said: “My daughter was terrified there was still somebody there. There is nobody around in that area. Luckily, my older son (Tom, living on the neighbouring farm) had not left for work and went down. The horses (out of sight) were over the other side of the field and she thought they’d gone.

“It’s awful thinking somebody can go and do that to your animal. Keany is not hurt as such, but he has no tail to swish away the flies. The horses have been there nine years and we’ve never had an incident like this.

“Lots of people in the Borders have their own horses and this sort of thing is happening more and more.”

Within hours of posting the story on social media, concerned horse lovers had shared the item hundreds of times.

Jacqueline said: “The horse community is quite good at warning each other. Last night (Tuesday) there had been 650 shares of my post: that just shows people care about their animals.” And as TheSouthern went to press yesterday, there were more than 820 ‘shares’.

Comments include “sick”, “disgusting and terrifying”, and “how can people be so cruel?”

Jacqueline added: “The police are treating it as a criminal incident and said if we see anybody else there to phone.” The family have moved their horses in case they were being ‘marked’ by returning thieves.

British Horse Society’s Helene Mauchlen said: “We would urge all owners and carers to be extra diligent in checking for signs of interference. Vary the time you visit, padlock gates, and use lighting and neighbourhood watch schemes to provide extra safeguards.” Police said: “Inquiries are at an early stage.”