A SCRAWNY looking horse has caused concern.

Sphynx, a former racehorse, lives on Stud Farm Telscombe Village near Lewes.

Passerby Paul Watts was worried after seeing the animal and feared it was starving to death.

He reported it to Trading Standards and the RSPCA while also posting a picture about it on the internet to share with others.

But stud farm farmer Camilla Poulton said there is nothing to worry about.

“It’s old age,” she said.

“And there’s nothing you can really do about it.

“Unfortunately we get people who are not so sure what they are talking about worrying about Sphynx but he’s just an old boy.

“It’s quite normal for horses to shed a lot of weight when they are old, and if you’ve kept horses for a long time before, like we have with Sphynx, then you would see that this is common.”

The elderly chap is a former racehorse and Ms Poulton said horses can shed a lot of weight depending on their breed.

“He’s a slim breed of horse which means he will just look more thin than the others when they reach his age.”

She compared the ageing of Sphynx to humans and the physical changes it can have on the body.

She said: “When you see elderly people in care homes and look around you can see the bones through their hands and they look a bit more frail because as you get older you usually shed weight. It’s just what happens. He also has a habit called wind sucking where he holds on to edges of wood or doors with his teeth so it’s best to keep him outside.”

She wants to assure members of the public who pass her horse to know that she checks on him every day, usually twice a day when she takes her other horses out.

She said she has done all she can to help Sphynx gain weight but his old age is preventing him from doing so.

“If it gets much worse, then we may have to think about putting him to sleep, because we wouldn’t want him to get uncomfortable,” she said. “That is something we are having to think about for his welfare.”

Sam Chubbock from World Horse Welfare, an international horse charity said while the horse pictured does appear to be underweight, older horses can find it difficult to gain weight.

She said: “No one should be discouraged from reporting a horse in this condition if they don’t know whether appropriate care is being given.

“A picture does not always tell the full story, but this horse appears to be very underweight.

“Older horses can find it more difficult to maintain their weight and that makes it all the more important for owners to work closely with their vet to ensure their horse’s wellbeing.

“In this particular case, we hope the owner is following veterinary advice on the horse’s health and quality of life.”

She said staff at World Horse Welfare are happy to help advise the owner on how best to go about caring for a horse at this age and in this condition.