TWO Ipswich riding school owners have been convicted of animal cruelty for starving six horses on their property.
Troy Lawrence McIntosh, 30, and Mary Eliza Goodwin, 28, were the joint owners and operators of a riding school business Beleg Faer Equestrian at Minden.
Ipswich Magistrates Court heard the pair started the riding school in 2010 but a report was made to RSPCA Qld in August 2011 with regards to concerns for the welfare of the horses.
The RSPCA launched an investigation which found six horses had been starved by the pair.
Three of the horses relating to the charges were not owned by the defendants and had been leased from different owners.
Both pleaded guilty to six counts each of animal cruelty and were fined $2000 each without a conviction recorded.
They were also ordered to pay $4500 in costs but weren't banned from owning any animals.
The Queensland Times understands the couple are still operating a riding school under a different name.
Standardbred Association of Queensland (SAQ) president Reg Armstrong said people who opened riding schools didn't have to be affiliated with any equine association.
"The SAQ has to be transparent to all our members as to where horses are and their welfare, but laws in Queensland means anyone can set a riding school up," Mr Armstrong said.
"We knew Ms Goodwin prior to the incident and she used to present horses in a very good condition at shows so it was quite surprising when we heard. When we saw the condition of the horses it was shocking.
"The RSPCA and SAQ took control of the horses, and got them up to a good condition again and rehomed them."
Mr Armstrong said he was happy the couple pleaded guilty as it meant they'd acknowledged their guilt "to a certain extent".
"Despite all the costs of what the RSPCA and the SAQ had to put into the horses, and the heartache of those volunteers who had to see them in that terrible condition, we have to abide by court's decision."