A horse owner from West Sussex is urging other riders to take care when loading their horses, after an accident in a horsebox.
Bank Holiday plans for a sunny hack went disastrously wrong for owner Paige Howard whose pony became stuck over the partition in his horsebox before they had even left the yard (5 May).
Paige had just shut the ramp after loading her New Forest-cross Charlie, with his stable-mate Guinness, when he panicked as the top door was being closed.
“He is a dream to load and travel,” said Paige. “But [on Monday] he jumped over the front partition halfway into the changing/storage area.”
Paige and Guinness’s owner Jane Pay tried to calm Charlie down to no avail. He pulled a chunk of Jane’s hair out, and some skin from Paige’s arm.
“He was thrashing about and pawing his front feet in the air as he made it over the partition,” said Paige, who was “removed from the scene” with Jane by friends at the yard due to shock. “Before we knew it, he was stuck.”
The vet and a 15-strong team from Horley fire brigade arrived 45mins later and Charlie was sedated in order for the firemen to cut the lorry open to free him. Meanwhile, Guinness stood calmly by his side.
“He waited patiently to be freed, rubbing Charlie with his muzzle,” said Paige. “He eventually walked off once Charlie was sedated and the middle partition unscrewed.”
Charlie, 7, suffered superficial injuries during the 2hr ordeal — cuts, swelling under his belly and bruising, and had 3 gashes stapled.
“He perked up throughout the day, eventually eating and walking around, feeling sorry for himself,” said Paige.
48hr later, Charlie is “fine” although still on antibiotics, painkillers and box-rest with an hour’s restricted turnout.
Once he is back in work, Paige is determined to retrain him to travel well again.
“I will do everything in stages, watching his reaction, and being very patient” said Paige. “He may be totally traumatised and I’ll certainly be nervous. I may appoint one of my lovely yard pals to do it first for me.”