A STUDENT veterinary nurse has been given a community order after pleading guilty to two charges of neglecting a pregnant mare.

Five-year-old Bonnie’s foal had to be put down within days of being born, Andrew Davidson, prosecuting, told York magistrates, and the mare herself was hospitalised for five days.

Staff at the livery stable near Pickering, where the mare spent the last week of her pregnancy, warned owner Rehanna Marie Halligan about her condition and even offered to pay for medical help.

But the 21-year-old veterinary nurse student at Askham Bryan College, near York, refused their help and ignored her vet’s instructions to take her horse to the surgery so it could be properly examined and diagnosed.

Halligan, who has been suspended from her course, pleaded guilty to two charges of neglecting Bonnie and one of failure to ensure proper care of the foal.

She was given a 12-month community order with 15 days’ rehabilitative activities and 150 hours’ unpaid work and was ordered to pay £300 costs to the RSPCA who prosecuted her and an £85 statutory surcharge.

Halligan, of Hummersea Close, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, was also banned from keeping equine animals for three years, but allowed to keep her pet rabbit.

Her solicitor Paul Watson said: “I think she thought she knew rather more than she did. She has already lost her career,” he said.

Halligan had been de-registered as a veterinary nurse student and was now studying engineering on Teesside.

The mare had had “significant health problems” when she bought and Halligan had matters in her private life for which she needed professional help.

She had genuine remorse for the result of her neglect of the two animals.

Mr Davidson said Bonnie had been heavily pregnant when she arrived at the livery stable on May 17. Halligan had owned her since the previous September.

She had severe sunburn probably caused by being oiled and then left in the sun and was underweight.

When the foal was born on May 25, it was in poor condition and couldn’t suckle. It was also brain damaged and had to be put down.