Couple who hit and kicked pony in attempt to train it avoid jail

Couple who hit, kicked and pinned down ‘terrified’ 11-month old Shetland pony in attempt to train it avoid jail

  • Adam Patterson and Fay Spanswick were filmed inflicting cruel training methods
  • They chased the pony in circles and hit him with riding crop and plastic piping
  • Former couple were sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months 

A couple who hit, kicked and pinned down a ‘terrified’ 11-month-old Shetland pony in an attempt to train it have avoided jail.

Adam Patterson and Fay Spanswick, from Devizes, Wiltshire, were twice caught on camera inflicting the cruel training methods on Fred, the young colt.

The couple were filmed last April attempting to train it in an ‘aggressive and inappropriate’ way, with the pony said to be ‘terrified’ as they were seen pinning him down and hitting him. 

Fred had ‘no idea what he was meant to be doing’, the RSPCA prosecutor said of the 20 minute ordeal.

Two days later, on April 16 last year, over a period of 80 minutes they chased the pony in circles, and hit him with a riding crop and piece of plastic piping.

The former couple, now aged 23 and 22 respectively, were sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Monday.


Adam Patterson (left) and Fay Spanswick (right) were twice caught on camera inflicting the cruel training methods on a young colt

Sentencing the pair, chairman of the bench Deborah Couzens said: ‘As far as we are concerned this offence is serious enough for custody.

‘It goes beyond appropriate training and ignorance to outright violence towards this pony.’

The two defendants were banned from owning, keeping or working with horses, ponies or other equines for five years. They will be able to appeal against the ban in two years’ time.

The incidents were reported to World Horse Welfare then to the RSPCA.

The woman who took the footage said: ‘I have been involved with horses all my life and I have never seen anything like this.’ 

She described the harsh training techniques as totally unnecessary and utterly disgraceful.

Interviewed by an officer from the RSPCA, Spanswick initially denied hitting or kicking the pony but after watching the video footage admitted it ‘looked horrendous’.

Her former partner said he’d helped Spanswick and ‘didn’t know anything about training’ ponies. He said he’d got frustrated with Fred, which was wrong.

In March, Patterson, of Collingbourne Road, Burbage, and Spanswick, of Bath Road, Devizes, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Terry McCarthy, for both defendants, said Spanswick had owned Shetland ponies when she was growing up and had taken them to shows.

‘All the ponies she’s dealt with have been mares and have been trained and obviously were something that she was quite able to deal with,’ the advocate said.

The former couple, now aged 23 and 22 respectively, were sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Monday

‘It seems that as you read in the [pre-sentence] report she acquired Fred after seeing him on a visit when he was in a stable.

‘Fred is a colt, Fred is entire, Fred had never been handled, so it is something totally outside her experience.

‘She did look for advice on training him, for example she read that if he rears up the thing to do was to get him on the ground. As you’ve heard that is what she and Mr Patterson were trying to do on one occasion.’

The pony was later checked over by a vet a week later and was found to be in good health, magistrates heard.

Mr McCarthy said Patterson’s role was more limited than his former partner’s. He had no prior experience of training horses.

Both defendants were of previous good character.

As part of their suspended sentence orders, they were each ordered to complete 10 rehabilitation days, 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £428 in costs and surcharge.

Source: Read Full Article