Fireworks cause second mare to abort foal: owner vows to campign for change

  • A stud is urging other horse owners to join attempts to change firework laws after a second mare aborted her foal.

    Vecthom Sporthorses’ five-year-old Cornet Obolensky mare Kaprika was found standing over her miscarried foal yesterday morning (5 November). It was exactly a year since another of the stud’s mares had aborted.

    The stud’s owner Jenny Thompson told H&H they realised something had happened the morning after fireworks had been let off locally, when they found Kaprika was not in her herd in the field.

    “She was just standing on her own, mourning the foal,” Jenny said. “Because she was six months’ pregnant, she had to give birth to it; it was her first foal so I think she expected it to get up. She was nudging it, very much ‘come on, get up and do something’. It’s completely heartbreaking.”

    Warning: upsetting image

    Jenny said this year was only her second at their current yard. In 2019, they brought the horses in but a mare miscarried in the stable.

    “You don’t know what to do for the best,” she said. “You don’t know whether it’s safer to bring them in, or if that’s worse because they’re flight animals and they feel trapped. So this year, we left them out.”

    Jenny said Kaprika’s pregnancy was three months further on than the mare’s had been last year.

    “Its ears were formed, its mouth; everything,” she said. “Last time, it was hardly anything but this was a foal. To take it away, with its mother following behind; it didn’t feel right.”

    Jenny wants people to be aware of the effects their actions can have, and to sign the latest petition calling on the Government to change the law.

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    “We need to be relentless,” she said. “I’m committed now to trying to sort something out. The police said if it happened again, they’d go out and enforce the [Animal Welfare Act] as they’d looked into the legislation, but we need a ban on sales. It’s not just one night either, it goes on for weeks.”

    Jenny said that while her main concern was for Kaprika and the foal, she has also suffered a huge financial loss in a tough year; it had cost £11,000 to get the mare in foal, to top showjumping stallion Diamant de Semilly.

    “So not only was it absolutely devastating, this foal should have been worth about £20,000,” she said. “I want to raise awareness. People don’t see the poor mare standing there, blood down her back legs; they don’t see the trauma, and a baby that should have been running round the field with its mother next year. They don’t see what we had to deal with and if they did, they might think twice.”

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