The owner of a point-to-point horse who suffered a serious leg injury after a sky lantern is thought to have hit her has called for a total ban on the lanterns’ sale.
Bastante, a seven-year-old mare owned by the Plantation Prosecco Partnership, was found outside her field on Saturday at about 10.30pm. As it was dark, her injuries were not visible and she was turned back out.
“But the next day, in the light, we saw her,” syndicate member Sarah Sladen told H&H.
“We were wondering what had happened and why, then we saw a strand of plain wire on the fence had broken.
“Then in the field, I found a clump of her hair and a sky lantern a few feet away, and her tail was singed.”
“Putting two and two together”, Sarah believes the lantern had landed on the mare’s tail and although the lanterns fall when they run out of fuel, it must still have been hot enough to burn her.
“It looks like that made her bolt and she’s jumped the fence and caught her leg,” Sarah added. “There are various marks on her but the bad one is the back leg.”
Sarah’s vet, who is also a member of the syndicate, was soon on the scene and said despite the serious leg injury Bastante had not sustained any tendon damage.
“It will scar but it could have been a lot worse,” Sarah said. “She’s sound, but she’s on box rest so that’s the end of her summer holiday, after only three weeks.”
Sarah would now like to see a total ban on the sale of sky lanterns. Her local authority, Hampshire County Council, has banned their release on its land and does not endorse their use in general.
The NFU and the RSPCA are among the organisations calling for bans on their release, citing the dangers to wildlife and other domesticated animals as well as the fire risk.
“But it should be a total ban; they shouldn’t be sold,” Sarah said.
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“There have been big fires recently in Holyport [Berkshire], Wales and Staffordshire, and it’s just so disrespectful of the countryside to let them off.
“I’m sure it was just one person, thinking ‘what fun, let’s let it off’, but really, they shouldn’t be made in the first place.”
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