Two young horse dealers and their vet have been accused of doping horses to hide behavioural problems and lameness.
Charlotte Johnson and Aniela Jurecka allegedly sold unsuitable horses to novice riders and young children. Maidstone Crown Court heard equines at South East Horses in Kent were given sedatives before being viewed by clients.
The prospective buyers were then persuaded to use vet David Smith, who the 28-year-old women paid to carry out “cursory and inadequate” examinations of the horses before they were sold.
Prosecutor Dominic Connolly said a number of horses had been sold and “misdescribed” in a criminal way.
"The Crown's case is those adverts grossly misdescribed horses being offered for sale,” he told the court. "Representations are made as to their physical wellbeing and their calm and placid demeanour, and their suitability for first-time riders when, in fact, they had significant behavioural issues which made them entirely unsuitable for novice riders.”
It was only when the sedatives began to wear off, that the “true nature and temperament” of the horses came out, resulting in a number of falls and injuries.
One women went to view a pony, which was described as a “babysitter on four legs”, in October 2008 for her ten-year-old daughter.
She was given a two-week warranty, but when they got the pony home the mother discovered he was lame and badly behaved. At one point the pony bucked and bolted with her daughter.
Johnson, Jurecka and Smith all deny the charges against them.