A HORSE narrowly avoided losing an eye after being shot with an air rifle - leaving him with three pellets in his head.
The Welsh Cob, named Terra, was found in his field with three circular puncture wounds by shocked owner Danielle Remblance, 27, on Sunday.
Mrs Remblance believed the injuries - on the cheek and two by his eye - could only have been caused by an air gun.
Vets and her own research made her almost certain of the fact and sadly her suspicions were confirmed when he was x-rayed by the vets.
This showed three pellets lodged in his head.
She said: “We called the vet out and it was only after we cleaned up the cuts that we noticed they were perfect circles.
“It looks as though they shot him twice above the eye but the pellets bounced off as there is bone above the eye.
“As he turned to run off, they have then hit him in the check.
“It was really swollen so it must have hit him with some force.
“It was so sore he struggled to eat.
“He has got three pellets lodged in his head.
“I’m devastated - even the vets are unsure what next plan of action is for him.
“He’s lucky to be alive.”
She added that the incident had left the cob - who is kept on private land in Lower Park Road, Wickford - jumpy and scared.
Mrs Remblance said Terra is finally recovering and beginning to settle down after the shocking incident.
Two of the cuts are just inches above his eye - any lower and Terra risked a much more serious injury.
Mrs Remblance added that soon after he was shot, the battery used to power the electric fencing around his field had been stolen.
She is unsure whether the two incidents are linked.
Mrs Remblance said: “He is a really lovely horse and didn’t deserve that.
“It is upsetting to think that someone could do that to him.
“The thought of it is horrible.”
She had been hoping to take Terra to a local show at the weekend but has had to cancel the entry due to his injury.
The incident has been reported to the police.
Mrs Remblance added: “I have been at the yard for seven years and have owned Terra for six years.
“We have never had any problems like this before.
“Terra is very friendly and will be the one that comes over to people.
“He used to be a terror when he was younger but he is much calmer now.
“He is kept on private land and there is no footpath through his field so people have no reason to be in there.”
An Essex Police spokesman said: "The horse suffered serious injuries to his head after being shot with what is believed to be an air weapon.
"Enquiries are ongoing."