A HORSE has died after being impaled on a rusty spike on Irvine Beach leaving its owners in “total devastation”.

Ashleigh Henderson’s beloved horse Zeus had to be put down after stepping onto a sharp metal pipe sticking out of the sand.

The horse was being ridden by Ashleigh’s mum Marie McLeod Henderson, 54, who was flung into the sea after the spike went straight through Zeus’s back leg.

Ashleigh said: “Mum was riding along in shallow water on Zeus with her friend who was on her horse.

“They were just going slow, not even trotting but then both horses became spooked after Zeus stood on the spike. He then spun around and flung mum into the water then bolted right up the beach. She could see blood pouring from his leg. He ran towards my stepdad who was at the top of the beach and he managed to catch him and calm him. He took off his shirt and ripped it into strips and tied it around his injury to try and stop the bleeding.

“The emergency vet came eventually and he was transported to Erskine where they assessed him, but they said there was nothing they could do because it had severed his main artery and tendon and advised he would need to be put to sleep.”

The Times understands the spikes are actually remnants of support struts from old sewage pipes which were never removed properly.

Ashleigh, of Clydebank, revealed seven-year-old Zeus died in April, however the family have only spoken out after seeing more and more concerns from people on social media about the spikes.

She said: “This has left us all in total devastation. I have never seen my mum so upset. Something needs to be done. Zeus has died which is bad enough but it could have easily been a child. I have friends who are still using Irvine Beach and I am telling them not to, not until something is done.”

Another horserider Ashleigh Laird said: “Because of the shifting sands and the high tides you sometimes can’t see them so it is so easy to step on them. They are a real danger and something has to be done.”

North Ayrshire Council confirmed to the Irvine Times that, although they are not responsible for the land, they sent a team down to dig out and remove the spikes they were able to locate last week.

Billy Lamb from Coastwatch said: “It’s hard to know if they have all been removed because I could go out there and they could be sticking up five or six inches out of the ground, then next day you can’t see them at all because of shifting sands and tide."