Spooked horse injured after jumping 6ft fence

The owners of a pure-bred Arabian horse have appealed for information after the animal was so badly frightened that it tired to jump a six foot high fence.

The owners of a pure-bred Arabian horse have appealed for information after the animal was so badly frightened that it tired to jump a six foot high fence.

Silver Ffate, who previously qualified for the horse of the year show and is known to horse lovers both in the UK and Europe, is currently recovering in a Newmarket equine hospital after his ordeal, which happened sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

The horse, which is kept in paddocks just off Manor Road, Griston, near Watton, was left with deep lacerations to his face, internal injuries and sprained legs.

His owners, Bryan and Sally Reece, are hoping he will be able to return from hospital over the weekend but they fear he may well need a further costly operation and it is possible they will never be able to ride him again.

Mr Reece said: 'We want to know what happened so we can make sure that this does not happen again, not only to our horse but to other horses too.

'It could have been kids, something on the playing field or a low flying aircraft, we just do not know.'

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Mr Reece said that Silver Ffate had a good temperament and was used to noise.

The field he is kept in is close to a military area and in the past there have been tanks, jeeps, helicopters and machine gun fire nearby, none of which had overly concerned the horse.

A fete on the nearby playing field on Saturday day also did not seem to have bothered Silver Ffate when the Reeces checked on him in the evening.

Mrs Reece, who is an artist specialising in making horse sculptures, said: 'We were hoping to do show jumping with him but now all that is in question.

'There was a great big laceration down to the bone on the front of his head and another injury on his neck.

'There are problems with his stifle joint and we do not know if he will be permanently disabled and there are shards of bone in his leg which means he will probably need a further operation.'

The Reeces are unsure what state the six foot fence was in before Silver Ffate attempted to jump it but they are both sure he must have been petrified to try it as it is nearly twice the height of the show jumping fences he is used to.

'It looked like an elephant had been through the fence,' continued Mrs Reece.

'It was a six foot chain link fence and it was completely demolished.

'He must have been seriously, seriously spooked.'

Police say they are investigating the possibility that someone may have made a deliberate attempt to spook the horse.

Watton Sgt Lance Ogbourne said: 'Cruelty to animals is a serious offence and people who cause unnecessary suffering to animals can face six months imprisonment and a �20,000 fine.'

Anyone with information is asked to contact Watton Safer Neighbourhood Team on 0845 4564567.

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