HORSE owners are being asked to be vigilant following a vicious knife attack on a pregnant mare.

The slash attack happened to the brood mare who was in foal in a field at Stretton, near Malpas.

Vets were called out to find the young mare deeply distressed with deep cuts around her genitals and hind legs which had been made with a knife.

The attack comes seven weeks after a similar incident on a yearling colt who belonged to the same owners. The colt suffered injuries to its shoulders.

PC David Walton said: “This first incident was actually not reported to us but both are very serious and deeply distressing for the horses’ owners.

“Luckily both the mare and foal survived the attack and the vet was able to treat the injuries.

“We would advise all horse owners to keep an eye out for individuals acting suspiciously around their animals and to report all incidents to us.”

Since the attack Police have received two further reports of injuries being caused to horses around Malpas and Farndon.

Inspector Phil Hodgson added: “I am anxious to receive any information as to who is perpetrating these crimes.”

Helen Coen from the RSPCA said: “This does sound like an horrific attack, and unfortunately we do have a number of incidents like this each year.

“Horses are often more vulnerable because they are out of eye sight of their owners and left alone in the field.

“I would just advise horse owners to think about the security of their horses. If you are really concerned think about bringing horses into the stables, and extra locks on gates.”

Managing director of Equestrian Escapes, Sarah Caplan, of Duddon, said: “This kind of incident is unbelievably shocking, but unfortunately when I worked for the British Horses Society (BHS) we did come across incidents of this kind.”

She added: “I would urge horse owners in Malpas to work together and keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

“With the darker evenings it is also particularly important to keep horses and tack secure.”

Anyone with information on these attacks should contact the Cheshire Police Western Rural team on 0845 458 6377.