‘I’ve lost my sunshine’: owner of pony killed by public feeding speaks out on the lasting impact

  • The owner of a pony who died as a result of eating food thrown into her field has spoken out on the ongoing effect her loss is having, some two months later. Warning, upsetting picture below.

    Mandy Hughes’ 12-year-old Welsh mare Cwmmwr Heidi (Squeak) had to be put down on 14 January, having suffered a severe bout of colic.

    Mandy told H&H she had found mince pies, grass cuttings and mouldy bread in her field.

    “I’d fed them, done their haylage and left them happily eating,” she said. “Then someone fed her something.

    “The next morning, I got to the field to find Squeak on the ground, in pain. I phoned the vet but I knew something awful had happened. My lovely vet came, and looked devastated, and I said ‘You don’t have to tell me, I know’.”

    Mandy had bought Squeak, a former in-hand show pony, some two years ago, and broken her to drive. Days before her death, she had bought a lorry, with the intention of competing and taking part in social driving events.

    “I could never replace her,” she said. “As a disabled driver, I need a pony who is light and sharp and sensible; she was all those things. I’ve got very limited walking ability, and it’s getting worse.”

    Mandy described her pony as “a diva and a prima donna”.

    “The three words that make any horseman’s heart sink; chestnut Welsh mare!” she said. “But the minute the carriage was attached, it was ‘Right, I’m doing my job’.

    “She was very high maintenance; the Farrah Fawcett of the horse world, all eyelashes and pouting and flirting. The most engaging, beautiful sweet creature, who could turn into a red dragon. She was just gorgeous.”

    Mandy wants to share the pictures of Squeak — doing what she loved, and as she was on her last day — to try to shock people into realising the consequences of their actions.

    “My pony’s stomach was well cared for; she didn’t need anything else,” she said. “That’s the message: if it’s not yours, don’t feed it. You could be the first person to feed it that day, or the hundredth; you don’t know, so leave it alone.

    Continues below…

    “I was going to take her out this year, which is probably the last year I’ll be able to, to compete and go on social events, to show her off and let me get some interaction.

    “I’ve lost that but I’ve also lost my sunshine. Because someone thought it would be a good idea to give her a treat, I’ve lost everything.”

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