Natalie McGoldrick made the plea after being called out to a collapsed mare bought just just seven weeks ago, but which  was discovered to be in her 20s, emaciated, and in extremely poor health.

The South Coast based vet said: “This mare was in a place she didn’t really know, she couldn’t get up and she was terrified. There is no dignity in that.

“That afternoon I kept thinking about her. At some point that mare gave something to someone, and for her to basically end her days on the floor like that, was devastating.

“In this mare’s case the owner thought she was getting a bargain – but nothing in life is a bargain. She came to them in very poor condition and continued to deteriorate. It can be very difficult to turn these horses around when they are emaciated.

“It’s not always the case, but quite often if someone’s looking for a very cheap or free horse there’s a high chance they can’t afford the vet fees, the feed, and everything that goes with keeping a horse. Everyone knows it’s not the initial outlay in the horse world, it’s the management and looking after them.”

Natalie told Horse & Hound, owners must remember that after selling or giving a horse away they have no more control.

“I see posts on social media when people have given a horse away then become outraged it’s now being sold as a ridden horse, and you see these tracing posts all the time,” she said.

“I’m sorry but you don’t give them away for free. It comes as no surprise they often end up in the wrong hands.

“I’m not saying as soon as a horse isn’t rideable, put them down. But if you genuinely cannot afford to keep your older horse, you should really think about putting that horse down – there are fates worse than death.”