Horse spooked by fireworks injured days after hospital treatment

  • A horse who underwent £10,000 of veterinary treatment was injured in his stable days later when he was spooked by a nearby firework display.

    Rebecca Hefford’s four-year-old gelding Harry “took lumps out of his head and chest” and injured a fetlock in his panic last Saturday (30 September).

    Then the next day, Rebecca found major swelling on the Irish sport horse’s hind legs.

    Harry had only been back in his Jersey home for five days, having undergone arthroscopy to both stifle joints in England.

    “I just can’t believe it,” Rebecca told H&H. “I had no idea the display was happening but when I heard the first bang, I was out there like a rat up a drainpipe.

    “Luckily I live there – I can see his box from my lounge window – otherwise it could have been a very different story.”

    Rebecca said Harry was very distressed, “spinning round his stable like a lunatic” and that it was not safe for her to go into the box.

    She said it took some 90 minutes for him to calm down, after the 20-minute display, and he was “dripping with sweat”, but that she did not feel safe to go into his box for another three hours.

    “He’s the most gentle soul in the world but he’s 17.1hh and was absolutely terrified,” Rebecca said.

    “I called the vet who said nothing would show until the adrenaline had stopped and he’d stood for a while and she was right – once he’d calmed down, his legs were like balloons.”

    Rebecca said there is no facility for scanning the legs on Jersey and she is unwilling to put Harry through another stressful boat trip to England so there is no way of knowing the extent of the damage.

    “He’s got soft tissue damage and his cartilage wasn’t forming properly so it was going to take a lot of TLC to get him right anyway,” she said.

    “He’s bankrupted me as it is! And now we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

    Rebecca said her other animals were also affected, including a pony whose leg is “up like a balloon and infected”. She is calling for a law change so anyone holding a private firework display would need to have permission, so neighbours would be informed.

    “If you know in advance, you can tranquilise them or put the radio on to try to minimise the impact,” she said. “But at the moment, you don’t have to tell anyone. You don’t have to check if there are animals about; it just gets ridiculous.”

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