‘What the hell happened to my horse?’ owner’s warning after mare sent for backing found in ‘disgusting’ state

  • The owner of a young mare who was sent for backing and within a fortnight had multiple wounds, a “disgusting” coat and had lost condition has urged others to research thoroughly before they send horses away.

    Belinda Spittle thought the trainer to whom she sent her homebred mare Orlaithe, pictured before she went, in September was reputable. But when she went to see the four-year-old, 12 days later, she told staff she was taking her home at once.

    Belinda told H&H the mare was “rank rotten”, “covered in untreated cuts” and had two haematomas.

    “As soon as I got there, I said ‘What the hell has happened to my horse?’” Belinda said. “The girls with her were as if nothing had happened but I’m so glad my friend was there as a witness.”

    Belinda said she had sent Orlaithe with the balancer she was supposed to be fed, but that yard staff said they had been told not to feed her as she was in good condition. She added that she had asked for the mare to come in at night, but she does not believe this happened.

    “The cuts hadn’t been treated as they had mud on them, and pus underneath,” she said. “She had a cut above her eye, a lump on her back and a great big cut where the skin had curled back and dried. Her boots had been left on and her heels were raw; it went on and on but the trainer was just dismissing everything I said.

    “She looked so sad, probably because she was dehydrated. When I got her home, she went straight for the bucket and just drank and drank, and when I put her out, she went straight for the trough. I’ve never seen a horse drink like that.”

    Orlaithe has had veterinary and chiropractic treatment and is on the mend but Belinda wants to warn other owners to research those they send their horses to.

    “Double and triple-check,” she said. “I’ve had horses all my life and I’m no drama queen but this has really hurt me. Riding schools have to be inspected but noone else does so I want to warn other people.”

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