Horse who defied the odds to survive sickening stab attack is heading to Hickstead

  • A miniature horse who was repeatedly stabbed in a sickening and apparently random attack is back in the show ring, and heading for the BHS Royal International Horse Show (RIHS).

    Apollo’s Sol Invictus has made a “miraculous” recovery from the 16 deep stab wounds inflicted on him at the end of April and returned to the ring a fortnight ago.

    And he will go to the RIHS, for which he qualified before the attack, but will then not be shown again.

    “I just feel after all he’s been through it’s too hard,” owner Harriet Wood told H&H. “On the showing circuit they’re looking for perfection and standing a horse with 16 scars next to horses without is very emotional. He doesn’t owe me another rosette, he’s done more than any horse ever could for me. I’m going to enjoy this year with him because he doesn’t deserve to have his day or his tickets robbed from him.”

    Harriet’s mother Lesley Wood told H&H the first the family knew of the attack was when the livery yard called, on 24 April.

    “They said something had happened and I thought the colts had got out or something,” she said.

    “I can’t describe the scene; blood pouring out of the stable, it was horrific. They’d stabbed him 12 times on his rear and the rest on his neck; I think they were going for his jugular to try to finish him off.”

    Lesley said it is likely Sol’s thick, heavy-duty rug saved his life but that the wounds were still so deep, the vet was unable to stitch them for 10 days as he would have been “stitching infection in”.

    “He was so lucky,” she said. “He said he’d be lucky to survive the night and it’s a miracle he did, but the biggest miracle is he healed so well, with no infection. It’s unbelievable he’s come back so quickly.”

    Lesley praised her “fantastic” vets, Sandy Baird and John Abbott from Town and Country Veterinary Centre, Market Harborough, her “amazing” friend Mandy Tessy and others.

    “The whole horsey community, and the local community, have been so kind and generous,” she said. “Sending him presents, contributing to a fundraising page set up by Mandy, asking after him. People are saying: ‘Please bring him to RIHS, we want to see him’.

    “Even the man on the checkout in the Co-Op asks how he is. It’s meant more than anything that people have kept him in their thoughts.

    “It’s been a nightmare but how lucky are we? Heartbreaking but amazing as we’re so lucky we’ve still got him. If he doesn’t show again, it doesn’t matter; he’s one of the family.”

    Harriet added that she had watched her sisters at RIHS and the Horse of the Year Show, but had not shown herself until she met Sol.

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    “I loved him so much, he gave me the confidence to show and all I’ve ever wanted is for him to have his moment in the spotlight,” she said. “He took me to RIHS and came second so I want to take him back for his last time this year.

    “He’s my best friend and I’m so heartbroken this has happened to him but I’m so lucky to have him, and I’m going to treasure every moment with him at RIHS.”

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