People are being urged to be on the lookout for four distinctively marked red and white miniature Falabella mare ponies stolen from Tonnagh Stud, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.
Brendan Flynn, pictured alongside Elaine Hunt with one of their Friesian horses and miniature ponies Stumpy, have appealed for the public’s help.
The four ponies, including one heavily in foal, disappeared from their farmland three miles outside Carrick-on-Shannon on the Drumsna-Leitrim road last Wednesday night.
Mr Flynn said the mares measuring between 32in-33in tall would be worth around €1,000 each and one has a distinctive protruding blue eye.
Mr Flynn said they had just exported eight valuable well-marked Falabellas to a member of a royal family in India just days before thieves struck. Anyone who thinks they may have spotted the ponies has been asked to call Brendan on 087 7702112.
Mr Flynn said the gardai had been out to examine the two fields and had found some wrappers from bread possibly used to coax the animals into a trailer. This was being checked for fingerprints.
He said they were particularly concerned for the mare that was heavily in foal and due any day. They urged anyone who spots small falabellas for sale that they believe might be owned by Tonnagh Stud to contact them.
All of the animals were microchipped and registered. Mr Flynn had chains on the double gate into one of the fields but they used an old gate. He said one of the mares was small and light enough to have been lifted over the gate.
“We’ve never been targeted before. However, miniature ponies have been stolen north and south of the border,” he said. “We are going to examine CCTV footage and things like that from the area.”
Mr Flynn said they had just exported eight ponies to India the day prior to the theft. He said they believed they had been watching the premises as they found beer cans and cigarette butts around the farm.
“We think they were coming for those eight,” he said. “A lady from Tipperary exported a small number of ponies to India from me before. A member of the Royal family over there wanted them and they got in touch with me. They were specialised and handpicked for their colouring and old bloodlines.”