A WOMAN whose horse had to be put down after it was spooked by a low- flying hot-air balloon has a new animal.
Liz Jones, of St Mark’s Road, Henley, was in a field with her thoroughbred mare Della at Friar Park Stables in Gravel Hill when a red Virgin balloon passing low overhead caused her 18-year-old horse to bolt.
The mare, which was already unwell, fell over and was unable to get back up so a vet had to administer a lethal injection.
Since that incident in August, Mrs Jones has adopted a six-year-old horse called Kazan from the Blue Cross animal charity.
She says he is her “little star” and has urged other people looking for pets to try rehoming.
In a letter to this week’s Henley Standard, Mrs Jones says: “There has been much in the papers recently about places like the Blue Cross centre now having to turn away animals due to the number of unwanted pets reaching epidemic levels.
“It is a shameful reflection of our society that such charities have to exist but they are a lifeline for animals and in my case Kazan and I have been so lucky to find each other.
“I hate to think of other horses or any other animals being abandoned or mistreated that never find their way to such a lifeline because there is no space left.”
Mrs Jones, an accountant at Henley Town Council, turned to Blue Cross on a friend’s recommendation after Della’s death.
She says: “When taking on a horse it is difficult to know what to look for and how to judge an individual animal’s potential or its nature and ability. A seller will always tell you the good things about it but not always the bad ones.”
Blue Cross lists on its website all the animals that are ready for re-homing and fit the potential owner’s criteria, while also listing both positive and negative characteristics of the animal.
Mrs Jones says: “The scheme relies on complete honesty from both sides.
“The animals, while in their care, are looked after lovingly and competently by staff who get to know them all individually. They are vaccinated, micro-chipped, wormed and neutered and will be vet-checked and treated if there are any health concerns.”
While searching through the Blue Cross website she found Kazan, who had previously been subjected to treatment that made him “nervous of everything”.
The Blue Cross centre in Burford had nurtured him for a year and provided the stability, security and kindness he needed before he was ready to be rehomed.
Mrs Jones had to prove she could ride and that she had previous horse experience before being allowed to adopt Kazan in September.
She donated £300 to the charity and paid a small administration charge and is now responsible for maintenance costs.
The agreement is a “permanent monitored loan”, which means she will be responsible for Kazan and the charity will continue to monitor him.
Mrs Jones says: “After two sessions with Kazan, I knew he was perfect for me and I signed the loan agreement.
“It is, however, a comfort to know that if for some reason I become unable to look after him, then he could return to their centre and another home will be sought for him.
“Kazan has been my little star. My task is to continue where the Blue Cross left off and things are great — Kazan and I have so much fun and despite his start in life he is trusting and intuitive and learning all the time. In short, he’s adorable.”
After Della’s death was reported by the Henley Standard, the Virgin Balloon Flights pilot contacted Mrs Jones and the company donated £250 each to Blue Cross and the Wyfold Riding for the Disabled group, where Mrs Jones is a volunteer, and provided two balloon flight tickets worth £310.