#TheList Victoria Catherine Brooksbank, born c. 1977, of 42 Severn Drive, Garforth Leeds LS25 2BB and Richard Marnick, born 19/06/1995, of The Marsh, 70 Uppermoor, Pudsey LS28 7EX – allowed a horse to “deteriorate” and suffer
The court heard that Marnick had been loaned a thoroughbred gelding called Archie and he paid Brooksbank, who is an experienced trainer trading under the name VB Equestrian, £80 a week to look after him at her stables in Garforth.
Archie appeared to be healthy when he arrived at the stables and Marnick paid for the full livery package, that included hay and hard feed, but after 18 months the horse was found to have deteriorated and had lost a lot of weight.
In July 2019, Archie’s original owner saw a photograph of him on social media and arranged for him to be examined by a vet.
Archie was very thin and given a body condition score of one out of five, meaning he was emaciated. The RSPCA then decided to prosecute Marnick and Brooksbank.
The court heard there had been “inadequate nutrition” and the suffering may have gone on “for weeks, possibly months”.
Archie was very thin and was given a body condition score of one out of five, meaning it was poor.
Marnick, who pleaded guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing, told the court he usually checked in on Archie once a week, but was preoccupied as he was working six days a week as a courier.
He said: “I pleaded guilty because I should have done something about it sooner. I should have removed Archie (from Brooksbank) a lot sooner than I did.”
He also said he had been speaking to a nutritionist and trying to figure how to help Archie, but the horse was taken away before he had the opportunity to help.
A probation worker, who interviewed Brooksbank, said: “She believed the horse belonged to Mr Marnick and continuously contacted him, saying he needed more exercise, hard feed and for a nutritionist to look at the horse.”
The probation worker also said that Brooksbank “wishes she had been more forceful” with Marnick and convinced him to contact a nutritionist sooner.
The court that Brooksbank, who denied the offence but was convicted at an earlier hearing, has taken good care of the other horses in her stable for years and this case was “an anomaly”.
‘There was no desire to neglect the horse’
Presiding justice Richard Powell said: “This was unintentional.
“There was no desire to neglect the horse but I think I need to make a point now – there is only one victim in this whole affair and that’s the horse called Archie, who has been neglected.”
Addressing Marnick, he said: “You were the owner of the horse and you had taken your eye off the ball.
“You were busy with your job and you did not give enough attention to the horse.”
Mr Powell said Brooksbank had “no intention to harm the horse” but was an experienced professional who should have taken better care of the animal.
He added: “We find you more culpable, because you had day to day concern with the horse and watched it deteriorate.”
Marnick was fined a total of £532 and £300 of that money will be sent to the RSPCA.
Brooksbank was fined a total of £982 of which £750 will be sent to the RSPCA.
Neither was disqualified from owning animals.