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An Oldenburg gelding is convalescing after an accident involving youths in a field in Cranleigh.

The horse’s owner, Leeann Howick, arrived at the private yard she rents in Surrey on the morning of 10 May to find the 17.2hh 9-year-old in the middle of the field “with most of his left side hanging open”.

View pictures of the wound >>

She told H&H: “Kids had been chasing Oliver and he had got so scared that he tried to charge through a gate, but he slipped and impaled himself on the gate latch. I found bits of him hanging off it.”

Oliver has just returned from five weeks at the Liphook Equine Hospital in Hampshire, and has a wooden cradle to prevent him bending his neck to scratch the 30cm sq open wound.

“It took three hours of emergency surgery and more than 300 stitches. It’ll be four months before he can do anything. He’ll have a wopping scar.”

Leeann plans to show jump Oliver again but thinks this accident will end his career in other disciplines.

“He used to do a bit of everything and was coming on nicely, but I doubt I can show him again now – and dressage is out the window”.

Leeann’s two other horses were in the field at the time of the accident, but managed to escape any injuries.

An electric fence has now been installed around the field.