WITH reference to the Ray Vardy Horse neglect story (The Press, October 25), I have known Ray for 35 years.

I told him about a mare, Balgownie, who was going to be shot and in October 1982 he bought her for £500. She fell breaking her knee at Catterick in 1983 and Ray ran round the track to where the vets had put up a screen ready to shoot her.

Douglas Hay, the insurance man, told Ray he’d get £4,000 for her death but nothing for the loss of use. Ray refused to shoot her. He took her home and nursed her back to health. She went on to win at Doncaster and Leicester in 1985, became a successful brood mare, then a foster mum, and died last year, aged 31.

This man is highly skilled and puts animal welfare ahead of his own. I cannot believe that he would neglect any animal.

K Thornton, Huntington, York.