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Two horses die after lockdown walkers picnic in their field

The heartbroken owner of one of two horses found dead after walkers picnicked in their field has described their actions as “mindless”.

Lisa-Michelle Hall’s three-year-old Flossie, and her friend’s draft mare Merry Legs, both died on 20 April. Signs of a picnic, including corn cobs and rubbish, were later found in the field, on a farm belonging to the mother of a friend, which has a footpath running through it.

Lisa-Michelle told H&H she had just found out she had miscarried a pregnancy when her friend called.

“She said ‘You need to sit down’, and I knew she was going to tell me one of the horses was dead,” Lisa-Michelle said. “She’d found her in the field and at first we thought she must have fallen, but on closer inspection, we could see froth coming from her nose, and she was sweaty.

“My friend then phoned back and they’d found Merry Legs in the barn in the same field, also with froth coming out of her nose. She’d gone somewhere else to go down.”

Lisa-Michelle said while there have always been issues with walkers leaving gates open and dropping litter, there has been an “influx” of people recently,

“A lot more are using it for their exercise on lockdown and they don’t seem to know the rules of the countryside,” she said.

“I had another phone call to say they’d found the remnants of a picnic in the field. The horses were being kept in a small part of the field as we were saving the grazing during the bad winter, and they’d got in there with them.

“We can only assume someone’s fed them something; probably thinking they were being nice, but it’s poisoned them.”

Lisa-Michelle said the horses had been inseparable, and that their owners had had big plans for them this year.

Flossie, who was rescued by Leicestershire Horsewatch chair Jane Heerbeck as an emaciated foal, so sick she was unable to stand for days but who had fought back to health, was to be backed this year, while Merry Legs, who had been bought as a broodmare, was to be brought on as a ridden horse.

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“This was such a mindless act; it didn’t need to happen,” Lisa-Michelle said.

“There seems to be a lot more feeding of horses at the moment; I think people are bored but we can’t watch the fields 24/7.

“Flossie was such a loving horse, with the potential to be something special. The idea was that my daughter would eventually ride her but now that won’t happen, and I’ve had to tell my daughter she’s passed away.

“She’s distraught, and after I lost the baby too, she’s questioning why everything has to die. There’s nothing I can do or say to make it right; she won’t see Flossie again.”

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