Michael Eilberg’s grand prix mare Half Moon Dynasty is recovering after a terrifying hacking accident.
“Mollie” was being ridden by Greg Sims on Wednesday (31 May), when she was spooked by a calf, spun round and became caught in a fence.
“It was a bit of an ordeal,” Michael told H&H. “All her life she has hacked down there, but it was just one of those things and she took fright.
“She panicked and whipped round, putting her foot into the fence that was next to her. She then panicked even more and jumped into the fence rather than pulling back.
“She then proceeded to go on a warpath with Greg still on, which was terrifying. She was so badly tangled that she fell over and Greg fell off her at that point, I think that was a bit of a blessing in disguise.”
Greg escaped without serious injuries and Mollie managed to extract herself from the fence and return to her feet before bolting away.
“She went through another couple of fences and eventually she ran into a field that had a hedge along it,” said Michael. “On one side it doesn’t look too bad, so you can see why she thought she could take it on, but on the other side it’s a 10ft drop on to the road.
“When I saw she had tried to jump that, I thought I would find her in a heap on the other side, and I pretty much did a little bit further down. I don’t know how she got over that fence.
“We thought she had broken her legs because she was showing signs of not being able to stand. It was so horrible — she tried getting up and panicked and almost fell back in the ditch.”
Michael’s vet arrived and his neighbours helped put bales of straw in the ditch to protect Mollie from further injuries.
“We had to assess the damage, the vet said it looked very likely she had broken her leg,” said Michael. “We were faced with the decision of putting her down there and then which was very difficult.
“It would have been the easy decision but it it wasn’t one we wanted to make until we had evidence she was damaged beyond repair.”
Mollie was given a general anaesthetic, put in a trailer and taken to Three Counties Equine Hospital.
She was sedated again to be taken off the trailer and put in a padded stable to come round.
“Then we had the problem that she had been down for so long,” said Michael. “When they are down for so long things start to get risky and she had been down for five hours.
“Everyone there was great, but it was a very nerve-wracking time waiting for her to get up. I was saying ‘in the next half hour that’s probably going to be it’.
“It was five minutes from when basically her time was up that she had one last effort and got up. It was a bit of a miracle.
“It was like a football match; we were all cheering for her.”
A hoist was put on Mollie to help her regain her balance and within half an hour she was standing unassisted. She then was able to walk out to a stable.
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She is now at the clinic recovering from wounds sustained from the fences and in the fall.
“We don’t know the extent of her injuries just yet,” added Michael. “It does sound quite positive — her wounds will take a long time to heal but it looks like they’ve missed the joints.
“It’s been a bit of a shit year [Michael lost the ride on two of his top horses in April] and bad timing after Mollie had gone so well at Somerford, getting two plus 70% scores in the grand prix and the grand prix special.”