Beds, Herts & Bucks

Neglected 'walking skeleton' horse ate bark to survive

Maggie the horse
Image caption Maggie was found malnourished in a flooded field

An abandoned horse that looked like a "walking skeleton" and was forced to eat tree bark to survive has been rescued from a field in Hertfordshire.

The three-year-old, called Maggie, was found underweight, with lice, mange and signs of serious neglect.

After being rescued from the flooded field in Hatfield and given urgent treatment, she was taken to The Horse Trust in Buckinghamshire.

Police and the RSPCA are now appealing for help in finding the horse's owner.

'Equine crisis'

"This case is not unique as sadly there has been an alarming increase in the number of horses being abandoned across the UK," said a spokeswoman for The Horse Trust.

"In February, five horses are known to have died within five miles of where Maggie was found but there may be other cases that have not been reported."

Vets said the horse stands a 50/50 chance of recovery.

Jeanette Allen, chief executive of The Horse Trust, said: "Maggie is just one of the victims of the national equine welfare crisis.

"Horses like Maggie have little commercial value and sadly this means more and more horses are being abandoned and left to fend for themselves."

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