Girl loans horse to family so daughter could learn to ride, family sells horse at auction instead

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Jade Walters, 21, was shocked to discover the family she loaned her beloved pet horse Magic to had sold the animal.
Jade Walters, 21, was shocked to discover the family she loaned her beloved pet horse Magic to had sold the animal.

When Jade Walters loaned out her beloved horse Magic to help a young girl learn to ride, she didn’t realise she would never see him again.

Miss Walters, 21, was horrified to discover that the family looking after Magic had sold him at auction for just £200.

Magic’s fate has sparked fury in the equestrian community, and an appeal for his whereabouts has been shared 58,000 times on social media sites.

Selling a horse at auction is notoriously risky – bidders are not vetted and some horses are bought for slaughter.

Miss Walters said: ‘We would never in a million years have considered sending Magic to auction – they’re horrible places. The thought makes me cry.’

It was two months before she discovered the horse had been sold – making it all the more difficult to trace Magic, who could have been taken out of the country or sold to an abattoir.

Miss Walters, who had owned the 17-year-old chestnut pony for seven years, said: ‘I consider him like a child, he thinks of me as his mum and he’s been taken from me. My heart is broken.

‘He could be anywhere by now, I don’t know how to find him and even if we do, what state will he be in?’

The care assistant from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, advertised for a temporary owner last year after the cost of his upkeep went over £4,000 a year. A woman in the West Country responded and took Magic to help her daughter improve her riding.

Miss Walters pictured with her new horse Lad after her previous pet was sold at auction without her knowledge

Miss Walters pictured with her new horse Lad after her previous pet was sold at auction without her knowledge.
Miss Walters pictured with her new horse Lad after her previous pet was sold at auction without her knowledge.

Miss Walters said: ‘He was getting very expensive. Loaning a horse is common for people who can’t afford the expense of the purchase but can afford the upkeep. So while they don’t have ownership, they have a duty of care.

‘I was naive. The woman I loaned to seemed very respectable and said she wanted her 12-year-old daughter to get more experience riding.’

But after six months, Magic’s temporary owner said keeping the pony was too expensive and he was proving too difficult for her daughter to ride.

They agreed that she would help Miss Walters look for an experienced rider to buy him for £500. But just 12 days later, on February 10, Magic was auctioned. However, Miss Walters did not find out until last week when she decided to bring Magic home.

‘He has always been treated like a prince, so being fought over at an auction by a crowd looking for a quick deal makes me sick.’

Her mother Julia, 53, said the woman had no right to auction Magic, adding: ‘The arrangement was that if she had any interested parties, she would pass them to me.

‘In no way was Magic to be sold without our knowledge.’

Last night, the seller insisted there was ‘another side to the story’, but declined to comment further.

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