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Rain and floods cause havoc for horse owners

Equestrian fixtures were hit by the spell of heavy rain at the end of September as horse owners around the country battled with flooded yards, grazing and hacking.

Several racecourses were forced to cancel their fixtures due to flooded tracks and paddocks – including Ripon, Folkestone and Worcester.

Redcar abandoned its meeting on 29 September following 100mm of rain in the days before. South of England Horse Trials were rained off halfway.

The RSPCA placed its water rescue specialists on call around the clock.

Two donkeys – one fittingly called Noah – had to be rescued from their field in Cattal, North Yorks, after it flooded last week.

“The water was pretty deep,” said RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent. “At one point, we were up to our necks in it. I’ve swum with dolphins, but it’s the first time, and hopefully the last, I’ll swim with donkeys!”

H&H reader Natalie Harrison, a freelance groom from Wrenbury, Cheshire, encountered severely flooded roads while out hacking.

“There were a lot of roads flooded, with many cars having problems breaking down and getting stuck,” she said. “Luckily, all the horses were OK with the water.”

And Peter Morris from Market Bosworth, Leics, found his yard underwater.

“The downpour was torrential for no more than 20min, but completely flooded our yard with two to three inches of water. It took a couple of hours for the water to clear,” he said.

“Thankfully, the stables are a couple of inches above ground level, so the water only just started to enter and partly wet the beds.”

Emma-Jane Williams told H&H she’d suffered “terrible flooding” in Taunton, Somerset, but has tried to use it to her advantage.

“We have been trying to turn this horrid situation with the weather into something positive – we’ve used the flooded fields as a giant water complex to teach my new five-year-old warmblood-cross to be bold in and through the water,” she said.

“Not many people can boast a five-acre personal water complex. And trotting down the flooded roads has been great to improve his fitness and stamina.”

And Charlotte Whittle from Ryther, Yorks, next to the river Ouse, has had problems with flooded roads and fields.

“I can’t remember there being this much water around in the 25 years I have lived here,” she said.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (4 October 2012)

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