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Saturday, 14 December 2019
A LIVERY owner has called for a crackdown on the use of fireworks after a horse she was looking after injured itself.
Sarah Peters says that fireworks should be restricted to official displays and only “quiet” ones should be used at private events.
She was speaking after the incident at Cane End Stud Livery, off the A4074 north of Caversham, on Bonfire Night.
Typo, a seven-year-old former racehorse, was in his stable when he was spooked by the noise of fireworks being set off nearby.
He reared up and put his front legs into a gate but fell backwards after being unable to sustain his own weight, injuring his legs and shoulder.
The thoroughbred is one of 30 horses being looked after at the livery and several others had been sedated in anticipation of the fireworks that were being let off for days before and after November 5.
Miss Peters, 46, who has cared for horses for more than 25 years, said she “dreaded” this time of year.
She said: “I find it soul destroying. It happens every year and it makes me want to cry. I see these horses in distress but there is very little I can do to fix it. It makes me really upset and breaks my heart.
“It distresses them and it is not just on the night itself. Some of them are still really struggling the following day.
“The fireworks are very loud and it is part of the Animals Act that they should not be let off if people know that there is livestock close by but some people don’t want to listen.
“If there are laws against setting off fireworks close to livestock, then they should be enforced. It is just the same as if you were caught for drink-driving. I am sure it would deter people if these punishments were carried out.
“Horses have very sensitive hearing. When they hear banging their first instinct is to run away. They can run through the fences and injure themselves. These horses weigh between 600kg and 800kg, so there is no human that could stop them.
“I have seen people on Facebook who have had horses die because they get trapped in barbed wire fences.
“I think we were actually very lucky because it could have been much worse.
“What do people suggest that we do? We have to sedate them for anywhere between five to six nights and it costs £25 per tube, which works out to be a lot of money for the owners — and all just so that someone can enjoy some fireworks.”
Miss Peters said Typo was now having physiotherapy.
“He has hurt his front legs and it also made his shoulders sore,” she said. “He is going to recover but it should not have happened in the first place.
“These are very valuable competition horses and people pay lots of money to ensure they are well looked after.”
She said loud fireworks should be restricted to large public displays and only “quiet” fireworks should be available otherwise.
Miss Peters said: “These are easily available, no more expensive than regular fireworks and just as spectacular.
“You don’t go to the fireworks for the bang, you go to see the pretty fireworks. They can be pretty without being scary.”
Miss Peters is managing director of the business and lives nearby with her 18-year-old daughter Eleanor, who works in the stables.
Eleanor, who recently finished studying at Langtree School in Woodcote, has had success in showjumping with a number of different horses.
They have two of their own animals, Joe, a 26-year-old Polish warmblood, and George, Eleanor’s 17-year-old Irish sport pony.
The pair moved from Lincolnshire in 2012 and Miss Peters developed the business, which now has eight staff.
Owners pay to keep their horses at the livery and visit the yard so that they can ride them.
Miss Peters said: “It took me a long time to build it up. When I first started, it needed a lot of work. We had to spend lots of money on advertising to get our name out there and get recommendations.
“Now it is considered to be one of the best yards with very high-end care. I am very proud of what I have achieved because it was very hard work.”
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