Devastation as three horses die in yard fire

  • Three horses have died in a fire at one of the UK’s largest miniature horse farms.

    Three barns at Rosaphia Horses/Willock Farm in Wisbech St Mary, Cambridgeshire were involved when the blaze broke out at around midnight on 17-18 June.

    The farm is home to miniature horse breeder Samantha Wheatley, her husband David and children Charlotte and Sophia. While all persons were accounted for, the majority of the working farm’s equipment was lost.

    Last Thursday (18 July), Amanda Breakell, a friend of the family, set up a JustGiving page to raise funds to replace essential items. Within 24 hours more than half of the £5,000 target had been raised.

    Amanda told H&H Samantha was “devastated” by what had happened.

    “As it was summer most of the horses were out but there were three who were stabled — a show colt she bred who was being prepped for the ring, an American mare she imported and another pony who had just been gelded and all three were lost,” she said.

    “They have lost all of the outbuildings, the tractors, the stable yards — every rug, blanket and brush has gone, there’s not even a hoof pick left. Just thank goodness it wasn’t winter or the whole stable yard would have been full and the loss would have been tremendous.”

    Amanda, who runs online shop MiniHorseSales has been donating items as well as helping to rally the miniature horse community.

    “The whole situation is absolutely tragic, I just can’t put it into words,” Amanda said. “I have know Sam for years, she bought her first miniature from me and she’s my best friend — I couldn’t just sit by and not do anything, so I set up the JustGiving page.

    “I’m an end stage kidney patient and Sam helped me when I needed it — she took on 24 miniatures I owned, which is a big ask — we will rebuild and get her back on her feet.”

    Amanda said the support received so far had been brilliant and a range of items had already been donated to keep the yard running, including brooms, buckets and wheelbarrows. She added that items that have been donated but are not needed will be sold in an online auction to raise money for other goods.

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    “They have insurance cover but I hope the farming community will also rally round as much as the miniature horse community has and help David out, he’s lost his tractors and still has wheat and hay to get in,” she said.

    Crews from Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire spent the night trying to bring the large fire under control, with local road closures having to be put in place.

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