A promising young event horse has been put down after an arson attack at a yard.
Emily Pope’s eight-year-old eventer Coevers Gamble (Brindy) suffered serious burns when a fire broke out at her Newbury yard on 11 November.
Despite surviving the fire, the horse was put down on Tuesday (8 December) as she was “no longer happy in herself”.
A lorry at the yard “went up in a blaze”, which then spread to the tack room and on to the stables. It destroyed most of the tack room, wash area and the stable next door.
A “considerable amount of tack” was also stolen including saddles, bridles and other equipment.
Police believe that the lorry was set on fire, in order to cover the thieves’ tracks.
“We think they tried to hot wire the lorry to steal it, and when they couldn’t they set fire to it,” Emily’s mother Sophie told H&H.
Sophie was the one awoken by the fire.
“I looked out of the window at around 4.30am and saw the lorry in flames and stable on fire,” she said. “Brindy’s stable was the one nearest the lorry, and the roof was falling in.
“It was terrifying, but the horses were so calm and quiet.”
Emily added: “All I could see was flames, my first instict was that they’d all be gone.
“We rushed down and grabbed them out of the stables.”
Four horses were injured in the fire. Coach House Vets arrived to attend Bridy. The mare had recently competed at BE100 and Emily was hoping to move up to novice.
Brindy had been “in good spirits” for the past few weeks, but on Tuesday the Popes noticed that she was “very quiet”.
“She just wasn’t happy,” Emily told H&H.
“She was losing skin and fur, she had good days and bad. But this week she couldn’t reach her neck down to eat the grass. I’ve never had a horse put down who was so young before. It was very hard, but it’s a relief that she is no longer in pain.”
Sophie added: “The vets were brilliant, they were treating her within 10 minutes of arriving. It took two weeks for the skin to start splitting but we were hopeful that she would recover. She was really well in herself and so we wanted to give her every chance.
“However, the burns had gone down to the spine in places. It was incredibly sad, and she had so much potential. She was an amazing horse who could do almost everything, she was incredibly competitive.”
Emily’s other horses were relatively unharmed. Biz, her old dressage pony, has burns to her head and neck but is expected to recover.
The Popes are still appealing for information regarding the incident.
“The police have no leads so far,” added Mrs Pope. “It’s been life changing. But we have nice horses and we’ll carry on.”
Anyone with information should contact the police on 101.