‘Miraculous’ progress of horse shot with longbow

  • A colt shot in the head with an arrow last weekend has made a remarkable recovery, according to vets.

    Widget, a 15-month old cob, was discovered at a livery yard in Abbots Langley, Herts, late last Saturday (18 June) with a bolt protruding from his head behind his eye.

    He was taken to the Royal Veterinary College’s equine hospital on the Hawkshead campus near Hatfield for x-rays.

    These showed he had been very lucky.

    “Incredibly the bolt had gone into the orbit which is the socket in the skull where the eyeball sits,” said Professor Josh Slater, the hospital’s clinical director.

    “There is really no space in there,” he explained.“ But miraculously the bolt had gone between the eyeball and bone without bursting the eye or hitting any of the big nerves and vessels in the base orbit or going through the bone into the brain.”

    “It really is a chance in a million the bolt didn’t go into his eyeball.”



    Veterinary surgeon Andy Fiske-Jackson spent half an hour operating to remove the arrow, after which the cavity was cleaned and entry wound repaired.

    “The bolt was very dirty so there is always the risk of infection,” said Professor Slater.

    “We cleaned out the hole surgically and have given him antibiotics and there is no sign of infection.”

    Widget did have some inflammation in the front part of his left eye but this is now “nicely under control.”

    The RVC vets are confident he will make a full recovery and say they are happy for him to go home next week.


    “The act of shooting was horrific and the consequences could have been fatal but amazingly they weren’t,” said Professor Slater.

    Widget’s recovery is “the best outcome we could have wished for,” said his owner Hannah Dorsett speaking to H&H on the way to visit him on Wednesday (22 June).

    She said the wound is healing “really well”, adding: “He’s completely mended apart from a little cut by his eye, hopefully he can come home on Monday.”

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    Police have collected witness statements and are awaiting the results of forensic tests on the arrow.

    Ms Dorsett said other owners in her yard were “completely petrified” following the shooting.

    It’s worrying not just for our yard, but everyone in the area,” she said.

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