‘The worst injury the vet had seen’: owner’s devastation after youths throwing sticks and stones chase young mare through fence

  • The owner of a horse who suffered serious injuries when she was chased into a fence by youths throwing sticks and stones says she cannot comprehend how anyone could act in that way.

    Karen Widdicks’ four-year-old American paint mare Millie broke two rails of the fence in her panicked flight from the intruders, on 11 April. The vet spent hours sewing up the gashes in her foreleg and chest, and for a while it was not certain she would pull through.

    “The vet said if the fence had been any higher, she’d have died,” Karen told H&H. “She’d cut an artery too so if we hadn’t found her so soon, we’d have lost her. There was blood everywhere in the field, it was horrible.”

    Karen’s son Martyn told H&H the owner of another horse alerted Karen to the fact Millie had broken out. The youths, who must have climbed into Millie’s field as there is no public right of way in it, were chasing her, throwing sticks and stones, and they were caught on CCTV.

    “People have come forward since to say they saw them doing it,” he said. “Mum’s devastated. I can’t believe any parent would allow their children out without teaching them about respect, for animals and people.”

    Karen said Millie faces a long road to recovery, and that the vet said she should be able to hack out eventually, but any more is unlikely.

    “The vet said it was the worst injury she’d seen,” she said. “Millie’s not a horse to run easily so she must have been absolutely petrified. She broke two rails of the fence, and they would have just walked off and left her.

    “What makes them think they can throw sticks and stones at a horse who’s just standing there? I can’t comprehend how a human being could want to inflict pain on a defenceless animal.”

    A friend set up a fundraising page as Millie is not insured for vets’ fees and as well as the significant initial costs, she will need ongoing treatment.

    “A few people said I should start a page and I wasn’t sure, it felt like begging, but I’m so grateful to everyone who’s donated,” Karen said.

    “I just want to raise awareness; people need to know it’s not all right to do something like this. It could have been worse too; there’s an 11-month-old foal in the field and who knows what could have happened to him? It’s beyond words, and people need to understand.”

    A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police told H&H: “The people involved have been identified and enquiries into this incident continue to be progressed.”

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