A ROSS-on-Wye farrier who struck a horse nine times with a hammer while shoeing it has lost an appeal for a 10-year ban from keeping and working with animals to be partially lifted
Scott Manson carried out an “unprovoked and prolonged” attack on the horse known as Buddy, the appeal hearing at Gloucester Crown Court last week was told.
Manson had pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court to one charge of animal cruelty by hitting a horse with a hammer as he was shoeing it. He was sentenced to a 12-week suspended prison term and a 10-year ban from keeping and working with animals.
He was also ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and to pay a total of £528 costs and surcharges.
Gloucester Crown Court heard he wanted the ban on all animals lifted so he could help his partner who owns dogs and chickens. Prosecutor Kevin Withey explained that Manson, 34, accepted he should be banned from having anything to do with horses but he was appealing against the ban covering ‘all animals’ because he has seven dogs and seven chickens at his home. Mr Withey explained that on April 1, 2022, Manson had lost his temper while shoeing a client’s horse and had used his hammer to repeatedly strike him. Manson, who was also head farrier at Cheltenham Racecourse hit the horse, who had been tied up at the time, nine times during the attack which was recorded on CCTV and lasted six-and-a-half minutes. Mr Withey said that it was not the first time Manson had lost his temper with an animal as a dog, a family pet, had once been thrown out of a car. The dog sustained a fractured pelvis and ultimately had to be put down. The court was also told that Manson had also been convicted of harassing his former partner in 2019 and was sentenced to 24 week prison term, suspended for 24 months. Mr Withey explained that Manson had been a farrier for 12 years, having taken over the family business, and he had built up a large clientele. The prosecutor said: “Manson was returning to stables in Churchdown in Gloucester to shoe two horses, having been there a number of times previously, but at lunchtime he contacted the owner by sending a text picture message, claiming one of the horses had broken his hammer. The owner apologised to Manson and offered to pay for a replacement hammer. However, when the owner returned later it was noticed that Buddy, a male grey Arab horse, was behaving out of character. He was said to be being 'foot shy' and not his usual self. “The owner began to wonder why this usually docile horse would have reacted in such a way and decided to view the stable yard’s CCTV. Manson was seen adopting an aggressive stance, striking out at the horse with his hammer, hitting its front legs at least nine times. “The owner then carried out an examination of Buddy and saw that his right front leg had swollen along with various marks on both front legs and around the shin area. The hair had also been taken off and the shin exposed. “The owner immediately called for a vet, who delivered medical treatment. The owner then reported the incident to the RSPCA.“ The court heard from horse expert Dr Suzanne Greenwho stated that Manson had a number of options open to him when the horse began reacting to him. She said the attack would have been very painful for the horse as there was very little soft tissue covering the areas which had been hit by Manson, and the blows would have hit the bone. Dr Green concluded: “Manson repeatedly beat the horse around the forelimbs, where there is very little in the way of soft tissue covering, and as such the blows were almost directly to the bone. This would have been incredibly painful for the horse and the farrier is very fortunate not to have caused fractures to any of the limbs.” Mr Withey added: “The horse has since made a full recovery. But immediately following the incident the horse was reluctant for his owners to touch or brush his legs as it appeared to be suffering from both physical and psychological harm. “The RSPCA believes Manson presents an ongoing risk to other animals. He was not convicted for the incident involving the dog, but it is relevant to these proceedings. His trial and conviction in April at the magistrates' court was conducted in the correct and proper manner.” The court was shown five video clips of the ‘unprovoked and barbaric' attack and was told that Manson made full admissions when he was interviewed by the RSPCA but had tried to suggest that the horse had been misbehaving. Cynthia MacFarlane, defending, said: “Manson is completely remorseful. He has submitted a number of testimonials on his behalf. The attack on Buddy, while unacceptable and completely unnecessary, has not had any lasting effect. Up to this point in his career Mason had been the ultimate professional. “At this period in time he was stressed and was flying to Scotland to visiting his dying mother twice a week. “Manson has been professionally embarrassed and with hindsight realises he should have not taken that work that day, as he has since lost his career. He received counselling for his offending, but since he has not been able to work he is unable to continue with this therapy. “He immediately reported to his clients that he would not be able to work for them in the future, despite being valued by them. “Manson’s partner is the owner of seven dogs and seven chickens. He has nothing to do with them so a deprivation order is not relevant. He was not convicted for the dog incident, but had been interviewed by the police at the time. “However he would like the ban on all animals lifted so he could help look after them. He accepts the equine ban. Mason is now employed as a ground worker.” Judge Ian Lawrie KC observed: “Manson has lost his temper with two animals. First it was the dog and now it’s a horse.” Judge Lawrie, sitting with magistrates Dr Margie Doble and Siobhan Young, told Manson that he needs to address his temper in future and added: “This appeal is angled around your disqualification from having any dealings with any animal. We are not interfering with your sentence, which is unchanged, but we reject your appeal for your ban to be equestrian only. “We’ve heard all the evidence and all the relevant documentation and whilst we have taken into account the numerous letters of support that state that when things are going well, you are a good person. “Sadly there are occasions in your life where your temper has got the better of you. By this we mean that you departed from the care normally associated with your responsibilities. “The CCTV shows you repeatedly hitting that horse in a barbaric manner. Whatever the pressures were in your life at the time, there were plenty of alternative options you could have considered, as suggested by the veterinarian expert. You could have stepped away. “This was an obvious occasion when you lost your temper. We are of the view we cannot take the risk of any animal suffering from harm and reject this appeal. You’ve paid a heavy price for your actions. “In respect of the deprivation of animals at your home address, we note that these are in the ownership of your partner and you have no role in their upkeep and therefore no action will be taken.” Manson was ordered to pay a contribution towards court costs of £300 while the remaining costs of £1,365 incurred by the RSPCA will be paid through central funds.