A PROFESSIONAL showjumper who falsely claimed a horse was specially trained for disabled riders to make a sale to a mother of an autistic child has been spared jail.

Chantelle Smith sold the £3,250 horse to the woman after wrongly claiming it was a “riding for the disabled horse” which would suit her 11-year-old son with additional needs.

But the family soon discovered Daisy the horse was too strong and agitated to be ridden by the young boy and Smith had fabricated the claims in order to make the sale in the summer of 2017.

Teesside Crown Court heard the 47-year-old show jumper and professional trainer sold another horse to a man after wrongly stating it would be a perfect match for a beginner rider, leaving him £2,000 out of pocket.

An investigation by North Yorkshire Trading Standards revealed Smith, a mother-of-one, went onto sell two more horses and make numerous false claims. These included the recommendation of a vet known to her to carry out an independent assessment and the assertion she was a private seller – when was a horse dealer by trade.

But Smith, who runs a stables in Penistone, South Yorkshire, claimed she did not deliberately deceive the customers and shook uncontrollably in the dock, prompting the judge to reassure her part way through the hearing that there would be no immediate prison sentence.

Judge Deborah Sherwin said: “You are not going to prison today” and later handed Smith an eight month suspended sentence.

Addressing Smith, she said: “You should have and were aware of the responsibility of providing accurate information and not being misleading. The need for this is illustrated by this case. If you are made aware of additional needs your duty was not to give false information regarding the suitability of the horse.

“You made misleading statements that led to the purchase of Daisy. This had an impact on an 11-year-old autistic child who cannot understand why someone would lie in this way.”

Outlining her case, Rebecca Brown, prosecuting, said: “The first horse, Saxon, was purchased by a man who was looking to buy a horse for a complete beginner. He saw an advert and contacted the defendant. She said she was a private seller and she had Saxon for 12 months when in fact she only owned him for one month.

“It is good practice to have a horse vetted by an independent vet, that is the obligation. The man asked the defendant to provide numbers of vets in the area which she did not know herself. She gave him two numbers including the number of a vet, who she was a client of, and who went on to assess the horse.

“Daisy was purchased by a woman looking for a horse for her 11-year-old son who has autism. She had little experience with horses so a friend contacted the defendant after seeing an advert posted in July 2017. She made the defendant aware of the boy’s additional needs and the defendant said Daisy was a riding for the disabled horse.

“She said she owned Daisy for 10 months and gave the impression she was selling the horse because they had too many. But it was later revealed she owned Daisy for two weeks at the most. It was soon discovered the horse wasn’t suitable for the son, she was too strong and became agitated. The mother tried to contact the defendant who ignored her text.”

Ms Brown said the first customer also later discovered the horse, which was sold for £2,000, was not suitable for his needs and the pair are now "emotionally and financially responsible for horses they cannot ride."

She added two more horses were sold from June to November 2017 and Smith went on falsely state horses had passports when they did not and use a vet known to her to carry out assessments which were suppose to be independent.

But Sean Critchley, defending, said Smith “had no intention” to deceive her customers and despite initially denying any mention of Daisy being suitable for riders with additional needs, now accepts her actions.

He said: “It was never her intention to deceive people, she got taken away with the assertions she made. Issues have led to the break down of her marriage . She is unable to work for numerous reasons and has since been living with her mother.

“She now accepts she made a comment about riding for the disabled but the advertisement was an accurate description and the horse’s temperament must have changed following the purchase.

“She wasn’t doing this for personal gain, it did not fund an extravagant lifestyle. Everything went back into her equestrian lifestyle. She is an assessor, trainer and competes in showjumping at the highest level. She has now lost her good character.”

Smith, of Marsala Walk, Barnsley, pleaded guilty to six counts of engaging in commercial practice which is a misleading action and two counts of engaging in an unfair commercial practice,

She was handed a eight month sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete150 hours of unpaid work and pay a victim surcharge which will be confirmed.