A POPULAR Barnsley woman took her own life following the death of her beloved horse.

Steph Lees, 42, died on November 9 - just 24 hours after her horse of ten years, Jake, had to be put down.

Mum Jo said: "Steph couldn't bear to be parted from Jake and made a decision to join him. It was really the loss of Jake which broke her heart.

"He had gone lame about 18 months ago and had to be put down the day before.

"She hadn't been able to ride him and had devoted most of her spare time to looking after him. She absolutely adored him, they were very close.

"We're devastated and heartbroken and will be for a long time."

Steph, who was born in Cawthorne, became interested in horse riding on a family holiday and then asked for her own horse.

She then started riding aged ten and took part in local shows and competitions.

An inquest is expected to be opened and adjourned pending the results of toxicology tests.