The owner of an event horse who died as a result of a freak accident in last week’s thunderstorms has paid tribute to her “soul mate”.
Louise Crow’s seven-year-old Irish sport horse Roulette broke a shoulder and a hind leg after she broke free from her field on the night of 16 September.
“It’s absolutely horrendous,” Ms Crow told H&H.
“I’ve had other horses, and lost other horses, but never had this feeling, she was my horse of a lifetime.”
Ms Crow, who lives in Reading, said she had heard a number of other horses had been injured nearby in the storms, including the death of two riding school ponies at Snowball Farm, Berkshire.
She was woken at 5am on the Saturday by a call from the owner of her livery yard.
“Rou must have bolted, blindly, and just kept going,” she said.
“There was electric fencing round the field and I wonder if that shocked her and she thought she was being hit by lightning, as she was such a sensible mare, with a real brain.
“On the estate next door, she ran into a workshop wall, which set off alarms, then she hit another building by a steep bank, with a six-foot wall at the bottom of it and a drop on to the yard.”
Alerted by the alarms, the estate manager found Roulette on the bank and called the livery yard owner.
“I think Rou saw them and thought someone had come to help her,” Ms Crow said. “She tried to get up, but flipped over and fell.
“She stood up and they thought she was ok but her shoulder – I’ve never seen swelling like it, and I think she’d broken her hind leg before she fell. It was horrendous.”
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A vet was on the scene and Roulette was put down.
“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make – but also the easiest, in a way,” Ms Crow said.
“She looked at me as if to say ‘help me’, and gave this whinny; she almost told me: ‘I’ve had enough, I want to go’. I couldn’t put her through any more.”
Ms Crow said her fellow liveries had been “amazing”, offering her their horses to ride and planning an “Irish send-off” for Roulette.
“They put a wreath on her door,” she added. “It’s heartbreaking as she touched a lot of hearts, everyone’s going to miss her.
“It’s brought us closer together, which is a nice thing to come out of it, but I feel my whole world has been shook up, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.
“I had the next 15 years planned for Rou; we were going to do some BE100s and hopefully start at that and go to novice next season; the first time I rode her, I knew.
“I’ll never replace her – she loved her cross-country, and it felt like we looked after each other.
“I felt I could jump the moon on her – she was my soul mate.”