Pony panicked by helium balloon stuck in his teeth runs into hedge containing barbed wire

  • The owner of a pony who ran into a hedge containing a barbed-wire fence after he was spooked by a helium balloon hopes sharing the story will help stop similar incidents.

    Cherylyn Gibbs’ traditional gypsy cob stallion Magic was lucky to escape serious injury when he ran in blind panic from the balloon, the string of which was caught in his teeth.

    Cherylyn was there when the six-year-old picked up the balloon from his field in Northamptonshire, on 3 July.

    “He was lucky,” she told H&H. “He’s such a level-headed boy, and he came out of [the hedge] with just a few nicks; it could have been a hell of a lot worse.”

    Cherylyn said she and her husband and daughter saw Magic grazing when they went to bring him in, with his brother King.

    “He didn’t want to come in yet so he wandered off, and we thought ‘what the hell is that?’” she said. “We could see something in the corner of his mouth. He put his head up to see us and the string pulled the balloon up out of the grass. You could see him thinking ‘What on earth?’

    “It was a foil balloon so it was rattling, and he didn’t understand; he went to shy away and the balloon followed him.”

    Magic “took off” across the field, only stopping when he ran into a corner formed by the hedges.

    “There’s barbed wire because livestock used to be in the field but it’s set back and the hedgerow’s so thick, it stopped him running into it,” Cherylyn said.

    “Me and my husband and daughter were talking to him, got hold of his headcollar and were able to calm him. He was really scared but he knew he couldn’t go anywhere, and he’s such a sweetheart, he’d never kick anyone.”

    Cherlyn put a post on her Facebook page about the incident; it has been shared more than 140,000 times.

    “My friend said to make the post so it could be shared and I said ok, and it went absolutely crazy,” she said. “I had messages saying ‘Shame the f***ing horse didn’t die’, and ‘It’s only a horse, it can be replaced, now f*** off’.

    “It really got me down and I was going to delete the post but then I also had a lot of people saying thank you for sharing it. A lot have been so supportive, saying the post had opened my eyes and they won’t release balloons again, and saying they can see the point, which is lovely.

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    “The people who don’t care, you’ll never get through to, but if there are others saying ‘Wow, you shouldn’t do that’, they might stop doing it because of the peer pressure; the more people we can get on side, the better.”

    Cherylyn said the balloon had a message on it to the sender’s father, who had died.

    “To this person, I am really sorry you lost your dad but I am afraid this didn’t reach him,” she said. “We all miss our loved ones, I do, but rather than balloons or lanterns, please plant a tree or light a candle, because next time we might not be so lucky.”

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