A HEARTBROKEN family is appealing for people to stop feeding horses after their pony was killed on fields in Halesowen.

Toffee the pony, who was kept in fields on Manor Way, died after suffering from colic brought on by being fed inappropriate foods by members of the public.

The 22-year-old male was the best friend of eight-year-old Bruce Albrigt, with his death last Thursday (February 17) leaving Bruce, who suffers from ADHD, bereft.

Owner Hayley Albrigt, Bruce's mum said: "We said goodbye to the most loving and beautiful pony I have ever had the privilege to know and all because someone fed him over the fence.

"Seeing my son screaming and trying to get his dead pony to get up will stay with me forever.

"100 per cent Toffee died of colic. It's a horrendous death because horses can't be sick so they roll around on the floor because of the pain and their gut twists and it's game over.

"I have caught people on numerous occasions feeding them things they should never eat from bread to potato peelings."

Hayley said the issue has got much worse since lockdown as more people venture into the countryside.

During lockdown she was visiting the field, which is owned by her friend and has a public right of way running along it, four times a day to take out food left by people. 

Halesowen News:

Pic: Toffee the pony has died after suffering from colic 

The 40-year-old teacher who lives in Brandhall, Oldbury, said: "Only four weeks ago I found a pile of spring onions that had been thrown over to them and they had elastic bands still around them.

"Horses do not eat onions, potatoes, bread, chopped carrots and apples.

"I just want people to stop feeding horses and be aware that they could be killing them."

Toffee is the second horse the family has lost to colic due to inappropriate feeding by members of the public. 

They were heartbroken when Saucy, a 15-year-old male Warmblood, died on Boxing Day.

Halesowen News:

The family also lost Saucy to colic. Pic above Saucy being ridden by Hayley's sister Georga. 

Hayley said horses are delicate creatures - their diet consists of one bucket feed a day, grass from the field and whole carrots (as cut up carrots can cause them to choke).

Too many apples can ferment in their stomachs.

The 40-year-old mum-of-two said: "People think horses are big and strong, but they are really fragile.

"In winter they have to lose weight as they gain so much weight in the summer, their feeding is a delicate balance.

"I've been looking after horses since I was three.

"I just want people to stop feeding horses and be aware that by giving them food they could be killing them."

The family can't afford to replace Toffee for Bruce and are now left desperately worried that if people don't stop feeding them they could lose their two remaining horses, 40-year-old Toby, who is blind and Hope, aged eight.