A grieving family are distraught after vandals tore through Holy Family Primary School in Gowrie and destroyed a memorial sculpture honouring their little girl.
A small fibreglass sculpture of a pony was placed in a memorial garden in late September to remember Abbie Mewburn, a happy "horse-mad" nine-year-old, who died on August 20.
Abbie's mother Kaylene said being called into the school with her elder daughter Micaela to see the destruction hours after last Saturday's attack had been hard to bear.
"The head was missing, kicked completely off," she said. "I just can't understand why someone would do something like that. The plaque was right there so they could tell it was a memorial for a child."
While small in stature, Abbie's pony was a cherished part of the school and provided solace to all who had known the Year 3 student.
Assistant principal Lina Vigliotta said the destruction of Abbie's horse was the "most disturbing" aspect of the incident in which close to $10,000 in damage was done.
Nearly all air-conditioning units across the campus were shattered, the wiring was cut into the main office disconnecting the electricity and internet, and ceramic tiles stored in a locked bike cage were smashed and strewn everywhere.
Abbie never had a horse of her own, her sister Micaela said.
Battling a rare degenerative condition which hampered her mobility made it hard to ride, but Abbie never lost her fascination with all things horses.
In a bid to share what she loved with the whole school during her illness she wrote to the principal asking for pony rides to be part of the annual school fete, due to be held on November 28.
Ms Vigliotta said despite the memorial sculpture's unfortunate end, Abbie's legacy would continue at the school.
"We arranged to have pony rides and at that time we thought she would still be with us," Ms Vigliotta said. "We might not have the little memorial at the moment, but on fete day Abbie's ponies will be here."
The Mewburn family has responded to the heartless attack by pushing forward with plans to have their daughter's memorial replaced early next year.
"We are working on having a similar one made in metal," Kaylene said. "Anyone who tries to kick that to pieces will get a pretty sore toe I'd think."