TWO men were seen kicking and beating an exhausted horse as she lay on the ground unable to get up, a court has heard.

Kieran Ashley Hodges and Haron Reginald Cooper, both of Crewkerne, have been banned from keeping horses after being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering, following an RSPCA investigation and prosecution.

Hodges, 38, of Cowen Close, and Cooper, 26, of Furland Road, were sentenced at Yeovil Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (October 4).

The RSPCA was contacted by police in April last year after concerns were raised by a member of the public who had seen the men with a horse and cart on the B3168 Ilminster to Curry Rivel Road.

The eyewitness, who had been driving by, saw them with a horse attached to a trotting trap.

She said: “They were pulling the horse from side to side very aggressively from her bridle.

"From owning horses myself, I knew from the body language of the horse that she was traumatised.

"The horse’s feet were planted firmly on the floor, legs were straight, head was positioned to the sky and her eyes were bulging and she looked totally exhausted and appeared like she would not move another step.

“I pulled my car to the side of the road and watched in horror as these two men beat this poor horse.

"Both were pulling at the horse trying to get her to move and both were hitting the horse and were very angry with her.

"They were shouting at the horse whilst they were hitting her with their hands.

"I saw the horse rear up in the air and come down on the road, collapsing onto her right hand side.

"The horse stayed on the road, and didn't move nor did she return to her feet.

"Both males started to kick the horse really hard in the body and head whilst screaming aggressively at her to get up.”

Dy, a piebald cob mare, suffered a 2cm cut between her front legs and another deeper, larger cut on an elbow.

There were abrasions on both sides of the mouth, bruising on the lower gums and a dark mark and swelling over her ribs.

An equine specialist vet concluded Dy's injuries were consistent with falling to the ground, rough rein handling and bruising from the shaft of the cart.

Cooper was disqualified from keeping all equines for ten years and ordered to carry out 300 hours unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR) days and must pay £800 costs and a £95 victim surcharge. He was also deprived of the ownership of Dy, who has been cared for by the RSPCA since she was seized by police and can now be rehomed.

Hodges was disqualified from keeping equines for five years and ordered to carry out five RAR days. He was fined £180 with a £95 victim surcharge.