“I know that people are not deliberately trying to harm horses by feeding them and they think it is a nice thing to do.”

Jasmine with Twilly her horse                                                                                     PICTURE: Sheila CursleyJasmine with Twilly her horse PICTURE: Sheila Cursley

Well-meaning members of the public are being urged not to feed horses after an owner discovered the family pet had been poisoned.

Sheila Cursley had to make the heart-breaking decision to put her daughter’s horse down on Saturday after she realising it was desperately ill.

Sheila, 44, from Hilton, said the horse, called Twilly, had most likely been poisoned by something fed to her over the gate in the field.

Both Sheila and daughter Jasmine say they are absolutely devastated and cannot stress enough to not feed horses.

Jasmine said: “My heart dropped when I received the phone call from my mum to say my mare wasn’t well.

“I rushed to the field to find my precious girl on the floor, sweating, panting and her body looking weak and lifeless.

“I felt useless after trying everything, I and the vet could not do anything to help her breathe and keep her with us.”

Sheila said: “It is such a big shock, I know that people are not deliberately trying to harm horses by feeding them and they think it is a nice thing to do.

“But you are killing them with your kindness, I urge people however much you want to feed a horse you see your daily walk, please don’t.

“Even grass cuttings can be poisonous for horses and too many carrots and apples is too much sugar and can cause a horse to get laminitis or colic.

“Horses are unable to be sick, so if they have something poisonous in their system, it causes their guts to twist and they can die.

“My daughter has had Twilly for 10 years and she was part of the family and now she is no longer here.

“We are both heartbroken and want people to know the dangers of feeding horses.”