British charities are appealing for information after three ponies were found in a terrible condition in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire.
One was euthanized and the other two, named Polly and Penny, have been taken in by The Horse Trust.
The charity said the three horses were emaciated and it appeared they had been abandoned and left to die.
RSPCA Inspector Rachel Smith and World Horse Welfare field officer Nick White found the three bay mares in a large cornfield near to the M25 in Chalfont St Peter on February 21.
One was so weak that she was unable to stand and was euthanised at the scene to prevent any further suffering.
Penny and Polly are now receiving around-the-clock care at The Horse Trust’s Buckinghamshire base.
The charity says they are both in a serious condition and face a long road to recovery, but it is hoped that with expert care and veterinary treatment they will pull through. Penny’s condition is aggravated further by a nasty leg injury.
“These mares are very affectionate and have clearly been well handled, and there are signs that they were cared for in the not too distant past,” trust chief executive Jeanette Allen said.
“The horses were implanted with microchips, which should make it easy to detect the owner, but they had not been registered; sadly, this is a problem that we encounter all too often.
“It is truly heart-breaking to see these horses in such an appalling state and they are yet more victims of the current equine crisis.”
She said the trust would do everything in its power to give them a fighting chance at survival.
Inspector Smith said: “This was an absolutely horrific situation. It is awful to think that someone no longer wanted these animals and just neglected then dumped them with no thought for their welfare.”
Field Officer White said: “It was cruelty of the worst kind to abandon these three vulnerable horses in this way.
“It was a very serious and sad situation but in a superb combined effort all the charities worked together to ensure the best outcome for them.”
The Horse Trust said Penny and Polly were receiving carefully measured rations to build up their condition.
In an update on its Facebook page, it said: “We are doing all we can but their chances are no more than 50-50.”
They each should weigh over 450kg but weighed 324kg and 310kg on arrival in the trust’s care.
Anyone with information about the horses or who the owners are should contact the RSPCA in confidence on 0300 123 8018.