A LABOURER has been allowed to keep his prized stallion by magistrates after its tether was found wrapped around a tree.

RSPCA inspector Kat Hamblin was alerted after concerned members of the public spotted the skewbald horse, Golden Boy, in difficulty on land in Thwaites Road, Oswaldtwistle, the Burnley court was told.

Golden Boy’s tether, a rope covered in plastic sheathing, had started to cut into his neck when the inspector, and an official from World Horse Welfare, found him on October 18 last year, magistrates heard.

The horse, a pacer, was also found to be lame, with a cracked hoof and thrush having developed, said Christopher Wyatt, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA.

But the court heard there were no material concerns about six other horses owned by the same man, and kept at Thwaites Road, Catlow Hill Street, and on land at a nearby industrial estate.

His owner, Charles Price, 29, of James Street, Oswaldtwistle, admitted causing unnecessary suffer- ing to Golden Boy.

He was fined £180, with £100 court costs, and was also ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge. But his solicitor Clive Rhys successfully argued that Price was usually a conscientious horseman and should not be deprived of the stallion’s ownership.

The defendant was also not disqualified from owning any other animals.

Magistrates’ chairman Victor Foster said: “The action was not deliberate and further, you have tak-en advice about fields and stabling from various people, so we are not going to make any other orders against you.”

Mr Wyatt said that, according to a vet’s evidence, the neck injury was caused by a ‘friction burn’ and would have been around 48 hours old.

Golden Boy was also found to have an over-grown hoof which had developed thrush and gave off a ‘putrid’ smell, he added. Mr Rhys told the court that Price had been forced to move from Shipley, where he had a 22-acre field, with his horses after receiving threats and intimidation from a family in the West Yorkshire town, around Christmas 2012.

The horses had been tethered in the fields as a matter of necessity, he said.

And Price would usually check them over every day.

Mr Rhys added: “He is bereft.

“He has always considered himself to be a good horseman.”

The magistrates court heard how the horses, with the assistance of World Horse Welfare, had been rehomed in new stables and a paddock elsewhere.