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Fireworks thrown from car at rider and carriage-drivers in shocking incidents

A rider and carriage-driver were lucky to escape uninjured when fireworks were thrown from a car at their horses, in separate shocking incidents.

Police are making enquiries after a number of similar reports on Sunday (8 November).

Judith Yarnold was hacking her Arab mare Zotti in West Kingsdown, Kent, when a dark grey Mini drove past.

“There was a young lad in the passenger seat, who looked at me as he passed,” she told H&H.

“They threw something on to the grass verge just in front of us — it exploded with a lot of smoke. You can get little rocket launchers and I wonder if they fired it. That would explain why it went into the undergrowth, where the smoke was billowing from, and that’s even more dangerous.”

Mrs Yarnold praised her 15-year-old mare, who stayed put.

“She’s normally quick to react but we live next to an estate where there’s a commercial shoot and I think that was my saving,” she said.

“She didn’t bolt but she was covered in sweat, with her head going round in circles, snorting.

“I was lucky but I reported it to police because it could have been a completely different story. I’m a grandparent, and kept thinking about what would have happened if it had gone into a buggy, or if it had hit me or my horse? It could have been horrific.

“I can’t understand the mindset of people who would do something like that; they’ve got to be stopped.”

Trainer Krissy Valentine was also targeted by what is believed to have been the same culprits, when she was out with a friend and the friend’s horse in the Dartford area that afternoon.

The pair were walking either side of Matilda, who was harnessed and pulling the carriage, but were not yet on board as it was only the five-year-old mare’s third time on the roads.

Trainer Krissy told H&H: “We were just coming up to a roundabout when a car overtook, then slowed right down in front of us, and someone shouted something.

“They threw out what I thought was a joint, but then I heard that hissing whee of a firework. There was a moment of pure panic, realising an explosive is about to go off in front of you.

“My friend and I were on either side; I pulled Matilda up as quickly as I could and held on, as the firework went off about four feet in front of us.”

Krissy said the young mare was “amazingly good”, believing the fact she lives near the M25 may have accustomed her to loud noises.

“But the fact we were on foot and next to her saved the day,” she said. “If we’d been driving her — and we had been just about to get in [the carriage] — and trotting, she’d have been hit in the face.

“The car just drove off, pedal to the metal.”

Krissy, who rang police immediately, has since heard of other similar incidents locally, on the same day, including another family driving a horse, and a woman in a car, both targeted by thrown fireworks.

“I’ve always been against the public sale of fireworks because every year it’s the same; another animal hurt, another person hurt, another animal dead,” she said, adding that she has signed the latest petition to the Government calling for changes to on firework law.

“It wasn’t just us, they endangered everyone who was on the road.”

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A Kent Police spokesman told H&H: “At 2.38pm on 8 November, Kent Police received a report that a lit firework had been directed towards a horse, which was being walked in Green Street Green Road, Darenth.

“The firework, which is said to have been thrown from a dark-coloured Mini Cooper, did not make contact with the horse, or its owner, and no injuries were sustained.

“Initial investigations failed to identify any proportionate lines of enquiry and the case was briefly filed. However, further potential evidence has since been identified and enquiries continue.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Kent Police on 01474 366149, quoting 46/200437/20, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Sign the latest Government fireworks petition online.

Do you think firework laws need to change; does the Government needs to act?  Email hhletters@futurenet.com for your chance to be featured on our letters page. The letter of the week wins a bottle of Champagne Taittinger.

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