One rescue pony died and another was seriously injured after being shot over the Christmas period, police said today.
Officers in Somerset have appealed for information over the attack on the animals at the Exmoor Pony Centre in Dulverton.
The ponies' injuries were discovered the day after Boxing Day. One of them had to be put down as a result and the other is still recovering.
Exmoor ponies are a British rare breed and the centre in Dulverton - a registered charity - rescues unwanted Exmoor ponies to tame and sell on to good homes.
Sergeant Andy Whysall, who is dealing with the case, said: "This is a particularly cruel crime, which is especially sad as these animals have been harmed while being cared for at a rescue centre."
Anyone with information or possible witnesses to the attack should contact police in Dulverton on 0845 456 7000.