A fire in a stable that killed 12 horses is being treated as suspicious.
Seven fire crews were sent to put out the blaze at Elmwood Equestrian Centre, Burnham-on-Crouch, shortly before 23:30 GMT on Sunday.
Passers-by helped save some of the animals but "tragically" some horses did not survive, Essex Fire and Rescue said.
Fire station manager Craig McLellan said his team fought through the night to put the blaze out.
"Firefighters worked hard to tackle the fire and stop it from spreading to any other building," he added.
"However, despite the best efforts of passers-by who managed to save a number of horses from the building, some horses have tragically died at the scene."
David Shaw, business partner of the site's owner, said the fire had left him feeling "gutted".
"All the owners of the horses have been up here today, but they're not allowed on site at the moment. There were a lot of people here last night," he said.
"We let the animals in the adjoining sheds out to keep them safe, and away from the fire and smoke inhalation, but the ones in the shed that burnt had no hope."
Mr Shaw said 70 horses were kept at the site in liveries where people can rent stables.
An Essex Police spokesman said the fire was being treated as suspicious and investigations were taking place to determine its cause.