Chased to exhaustion: 32-year-old horse found unable to move after field pursuit

  • The owner of a 32-year-old gelding who was chased to exhaustion, causing traumatic laminitis, said she cannot comprehend why anyone would have done such a thing.

    Kath O’Donnell told H&H her traditional cob Samson was fit, happy and still enjoying hacking out in April, when he was injured days after his 32nd birthday.

    “It’s been horrific,” Kath said. “He does seem a bit brighter-eyed this week but it’s been three months, and he’s still got a long road ahead. I’ve had him 29 years, and I really thought we were going to lose him.”

    Kath said her husband Andy found Samson unable to move in his field on 4 April.

    “He was just standing there; we knew something had happened,” she said. “The vet came and gave him pain relief, and she found a wound on his fetlock, but he had to be flushed [with water] as he was in too much pain even to poo.”

    Andy then found tyre tracks in the field, and blood tests carried out by the vets showed some interesting results.

    “The muscle enzyme levels showed he’d run and run, which he wouldn’t have done by himself,” Kath said. “It was starting to make sense. Someone had gone in his field with a motorbike or something, and he was forced to run until he was exhausted. He couldn’t poo for weeks without us syringing water in, and the weight dropped off him; it must have been so traumatic. He was made to run the way he shouldn’t have been running at his age.”

    X-rays showed rotation of Samson’s pedal bone in his left forefoot; traumatic laminitis is brought on by repeated physical trauma to the hooves. The O’Donnells have set up a fundraising page towards their veterinary bills.

    “It’s only in his left foot; the vet said it’s unusual but it’s because he was made to run,” Kath said. “He is allowed out during the day but not with his friends; he’s lost his summer. It’s cost us about £4,000 so far and we’ve had to forfeit our holiday, because someone’s attacked an ancient horse; I can’t get my head round it. What satisfaction they got out of doing this to him, I’ll never know.

    “He still isn’t out of the woods but this week’s the first time I’ve seen in his eye that he’s himself. He’s a star, one in a million.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...