VOLUNTEERS at an animal rescue charity in Caerphilly county borough say they are "heartbroken" over the "suspicious" death of a horse.

The dead stallion was found impaled on a fence post and metal bar in Fochriw last Friday by distraught members of the Welsh Pony Rescue and Rehoming Charitable Trust, which looks after rescued and abandoned horses on Gelligaer Common.

The animal had suffered catastrophic injuries which appear to have been inflicted when it tried to jump a turnstile.

"We think he'd been chased and was scared, and impaled himself," charity volunteer Paige Speed told the National's sister site the South Wales Argus. "It's heartbreaking for all of us at the moment."

There have been "problems" recently with people using off-road motorcycles and 4x4s on the common, chasing horses or driving in a manner that has been frightening the animals, she added.

MORE NEWS:

WARNING: DISTRESSING IMAGES BELOW THIS POINT

Volunteer Lorraine Czaja believed the horse had died in "mysterious circumstances".

The National Wales: The horse was found impaled on a fence post and metal bar. Picture: Welsh Pony Rescue Rehoming Charitable TrustThe horse was found impaled on a fence post and metal bar. Picture: Welsh Pony Rescue Rehoming Charitable Trust

"It died an awful, awful death - it wouldn't have been quick," she said. "We think he was driven [to the turnstile] or somebody tried to catch him.

"Something suspicious has happened and we need to stop it happening again."

The National Wales: The horse was found impaled on this fence post and this metal bar. Picture: Welsh Pony Rescue and Rehoming Charitable TrustThe horse was found impaled on this fence post and this metal bar. Picture: Welsh Pony Rescue and Rehoming Charitable Trust

The group's volunteers are now appealing to the public, for anyone who may have information or who may have seen anything suspicious, to come forward. The incident happened near Guest Street in Fochriw.

Anyone with information can contact the Welsh Pony Rescue Rehoming Charitable Trust online at facebook.com/groups/welshrehomingproject

The National Wales: The horse was found impaled on a fence post and this metal bar. Picture: Welsh Pony Rescue and Rehoming Charitable TrustThe horse was found impaled on a fence post and this metal bar. Picture: Welsh Pony Rescue and Rehoming Charitable Trust

The death of the horse is the latest blow for the charity in tough times - volunteers also suspect some young horses were taken from the mountain in recent weeks, and dead sheep have been found recently in the same area of the common where the stallion died.

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.