‘This has broken me’: horse ‘frightened to death’ by fireworks

  • The devastated owner of a horse who suffered a twisted gut and had to be put down following a nearby fireworks display a week after Bonfire Night has vowed to ensure his death was not in vain.

    Fiona Hohmann’s 18-year-old gelding Solo was found “thrashing in agony” on Sunday morning, (12 November).

    “I got a call to say he was on his back with his legs in the air and I knew immediately,” Fiona told H&H.

    “I shot over and found him in a terrible state. He’d never been vocal with me but as soon as I came round the corner, he called to me, then went back to thrashing around.

    “I’ve lost dogs and horses through old age, illness but this was just totally unnecessary. The thought of that poor horse on his own for hours with a twisted gut, in agony, just breaks my heart.”

    Fiona, who lives about three-quarters of a mile from the field, said Solo, who had been mistreated in a former home, was “petrified” of fireworks, so she had spent the previous weekend standing with him in a stable to keep him calm during a local display.

    “He was in a muck sweat; I had him in a pressure halter which was the only thing stopping him breaking out of the stable,” she said.

    “[This Saturday night] I’d done what I normally do; left the stable door open so he could come and go as he pleased. I’d have been there if I’d known.

    “The fireworks that went off were expensive ones. Were people sitting there drinking champagne while a frantic horse was dying in his field? It’s not right.”

    Fiona has contacted her MP as well as local and national press to share Solo’s story in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers of fireworks.

    “I’d covered Solo with a rug and sat with him till the vet came,” she said.

    “He was in shock so you couldn’t do an intravenous injection and his blood pressure was so low he couldn’t absorb the subcutaneous [under the skin] one. He was in a coma but then He lifted his head and put it back in my lap. I can’t even grieve for him as it was so hideous.

    “I can’t sleep because when I close my eyes, I’m back there. I’m not being dramatic; I’m a tough old girl, but this has properly broken me.

    “What’s destroying me is that I couldn’t stop his suffering. But I’m not going to let it lie; if I can save one other animal from that, he won’t have died in vain.”

    Fiona feels the issue of fireworks “needs to be addressed”.


    “It’s so important,” she said. “If it’s displays on Bonfire Night, fine. Everyone with animals is prepared and can deal with it. But this business of leading up to it and afterwards – no one’s expecting it.

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    “Nothing can bring my poor horse back but I want to raise awareness of fireworks and educate people.

    “He was literally frightened to death but I won’t let him have died in vain.”

    A petition calling for a ban on the public use of fireworks has topped 104,500 signatures in five weeks. As a result, a parliamentary debate has been set for Monday 29 January at 4.30pm

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