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Walkers urged to ‘use common sense’ after opened gates lead to serious wounds

The owner of a horse found tangled in a fence and badly wounded after field gates were left open is appealing for walkers to act appropriately in the countryside.

Carrie Chapple’s homebred two-year-old Truffledown Superted needed emergency vet treatment on Sunday (19 April) and is “not out of the woods yet”.

Carrie told H&H the Welsh section C colt is kept in a different field to her six-year-old stallion, but when she went to bring the horses in on Sunday evening, she found the stallion two fields away from where he should have been.

“I brought him in and went to get Teddy – and found him upside-down in a hedge,” she said. “I thought he was dead.

“He was completely in shock; not moving and covered in sweat.”

Friends of Carrie helped free Teddy, and the vet was called.

“He was on three legs that evening; he couldn’t put any weight on his off hind at all,” Carrie said, adding that the colt sustained a number of nasty puncture wounds. And while he was looking better by today (22 April), there is still a fear of infection.

It is thought the stallion attacked Teddy, as there are also visible bite marks.

“The stallion’s not nasty, he’s the soppiest horse, but it’s breeding season and he was doing what’s natural,” she said. “In a way, it’s lucky he had Teddy over the fence as then he was down, and the stallion probably wandered away; if he’d had him on the floor, that could have been the end.”

Carrie said it was clear how the stallion got to the colt as gates were found wide open.

“They’re spring-loaded bolts and one in particular is very stiff – there’s no way the horses suddenly developed opposable thumbs and opened them,” she said. “There aren’t any footpaths on our land but we believe walkers have been on it and left the gates open – it wouldn’t be the first time. When we went back to the field later, we found signs that looked like they may have had a picnic too.

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“There’s been so much of it recently – horses being fed, dogs killing sheep, and when my hay man came on Tuesday, he said some people had climbed into his field and sat on his roller to have a picnic.

“I think that during this lockdown, people who never walk are walking. No one’s saying don’t walk but please, have some common sense. Don’t trespass, don’t feed animals or litter, and shut gates.

“This was totally unnecessary – I’m not employed at the moment either because of the virus and didn’t need the vet’s bill – and I just hope this raises some awareness.

“If it makes even one person think twice, that’s a good thing.”

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