Staff devastated after RDA pony stabbed in malicious attack

A Riding for the Disabled (RDA) pony is recovering after she was stabbed in a malicious attack.

Lucky, a 13.1hh 12-year-old mare, was attacked while she was in a field with five other ponies at the Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled, Bristol, on Sunday night (6 to 7 October).

RDA coordinator Kim Langbridge told H&H the ponies were checked on Sunday at 4pm and it was discovered on Monday morning that Lucky had been injured.

“She had a knife incision which looks like a slash from her point of hip, halfway down her upper leg to behind her tail. The incision was at least an inch deep, straight into her muscle,” she said.

“It’s been stitched internally and externally. It’s a straight and clean cut therefore we hope there is a reduced chance of infection.”

Kim said the centre decided not to share images of the “horrific” injury.

“The vet is confident physically she will recover but we won’t know the psychological impact or the effect on her trust in people for a while. We’ve taken her out of the riding school environment to give her a change of scenery and a chance to mend,” she said.

“She’s very droopy. Before this she was a very feisty pony; she always thought she was in charge in the field and was always very interested in what was going on in the yard – but now she’s depressed and uninterested. It could be she is still a bit uncomfortable but she’s not seeking out any human contact at the moment. We will give her lots of TLC and hope we can rebuild her trust in people.”

Kim said the staff and volunteers at the centre are “absolutely devastated”.

“It’s really difficult to get your head round. We can’t understand why someone would want to take something out on a non-judgemental pony. We’re really big in engaging with the community so they understand the work we do and we are on the edge of Bristol surrounded by houses where most people are delighted seeing the ponies in the field, being horses,” she said.

“It’s a desperate situation for us. Like all RDA groups we look long and hard to find ponies who have the right temperament for our work – they’re difficult to find and looking after our ponies is very important to us. Lucky had been working both on the ground and in ridden sessions with many of our children who have autism or learning difficulties.”

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A JustGiving page has been set up to help with Lucky’s vet fees.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the equine community. We shared the attack on our Facebook page to make people aware that there was someone out there being malicious so they can take precautions and we’ve had a huge amount of heart-pouring and supportive comments from people who don’t even know Lucky. There are a lot of people out there who understand the bond between human and horse,” said Kim.

“As a charity we struggle to cover costs of unexpected expenditure. A couple of people contacted us wanting to make a contribution to her vet fees so we opened the JustGiving page and the support has been really lovely.”

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “If anyone has information that could help, or if you saw or heard anything suspicious in this area, please call us on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5219232193.”

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