A prize show horse expected to compete in the Grand Prix this year met a gristly end this weekend when “professional” thieves stole him from his stall and carved him up in a nearby field leaving behind just a “ribcage, neck and head” for his owners to find.

Debbie Stephens, a renowned equestrian who set the outdoor jumping record at 7 feet 8 inches, had recently purchased the 1,500 pound-horse, Phedras de Blondel, for an unknown sum (the Washington Post estimates he was worth around $200,000.)

But this weekend the prize horse disappeared overnight from his stall at a farm in Palmetto, Florida—and most of his body is still missing.

“He had been filleted,” Stephens tells the Times. “The slices were so deliberate and so well done that the moment you saw it: This was a professional.”

According to the Times, his “head and neck were intact, but the legs were gone from the shoulders.” So far evidence is scant, but authorities believe more than one thief was involved in the slaughter. The details of the investigation, via the Times:

The police arrived. Surveillance cameras were scrutinized, but they yielded no clues, she said. A length of yellow nylon rope was found, believed to have been used as a makeshift halter to lead Phedras from the stall. A set of footprints — and hoof prints — could be traced through bushes and a field, in what appeared to be the track of at least one thief, she said.

Ms. Stephens said there was a spatter of blood on what would have been the way to the place where Phedras was slaughtered. A necropsy showed that a knife had been plunged into the right side of the horse’s ribs, puncturing the aorta, and officials think there was a struggle before the horse fatally weakened.

Horse meat—while illegal in Florida—is apparently a hot black-market item, fetching anywhere from $10 to $20 a pound. Stephens’ husband says the thieves likely targeted Phedras because he was so big.

“These people came to butcher this horse out,” Stephens said. “They didn’t just come with those sharp knives for nothing. They had all intentions of doing what they did. They knew what they were going to do.”

Image via YouTube. Contact the author at gabrielle@gawker.com.