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The sad tale of Cinders prompts a warning over firework displays

PUBLISHED: 09:32 19 October 2015 | UPDATED: 16:06 19 October 2015

Cinders the horse in firework warning

Cinders the horse in firework warning

Archant

A Norfolk horse charity is reminding firework lovers of the dangers of spooking horses as bonfire night approaches.

How to protect horses

Horse owners can check their local area for advertised events, leave a radio on near a stable to mask the noise and keeping fields hazard free can reduce the chances of spooked animals injuring themselves.

If big events are taking place, some people opt to move their horses to another location or arrange for a mild sedation to be given.

Organises of celebrations including a firework display can also increase the safety of animals. Andie Vilela, Redwings’ education officer, said: “We would like to remind anyone who is planning a fireworks display, however small, to think about hawsers in their local area.

“Letting horse owners know well in advance where and when fireworks are going to be let off will enable them to plan and take action if needed.”

Last November Redwings Horse Sanctuary’s beloved 14-year-old thoroughbred mare, Cinders, died after suffering injuries during a nearby noisy display.

In panic she partially dislocated the joint inside her hoof and the rare injury left her lame, leading to the organisation and vets making the difficult decision to put her to sleep at their Essex site.

Andie Vilela, Redwings’ education officer, said: “Horses’ hearing is more sensitive than a human’s, and noises that are loud to us can be unbearable and terrifying to them. A frightened horse is a dangerous horse and there is little an owner can do to prevent an accident once the flight instinct has taken hold.
“Every year tragic incidents occur and the cost, both emotional and financial, can be immense.”

Discovered starving, ownerless and struggling to feed her foal, Gulliver, who was just days old, the 15-hands-high chestnut mare was rescued by the sanctuary and the RSPCA in 2006.

Due to her severe neglect she wasn’t re-homed, but with a little care and attention her foal thrived and now calls the Redwings Aylsham centre home.

A Redwings spokesperson, said: “Cinders was an incredibly brave and caring mare, and will be remembered for her courage in continually striving to produce milk to feed her foal when she had so little food and energy to sustain herself before her rescue.”

The largest horse sanctuary in the UK, the charity offers a brighter future for horses, ponies, donkeys and mules and is asking people to be mindful when organising their celebrations this year.

Their advice includes giving local horse owners warning so they can make arrangements and researching the event’s location.

- If you have an animal story, email jemma.walker@archant.co.uk

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