One of the military horses released by vandals from a field at Melton’s Defence Animal Centre has died after developing complications to the injuries he received following the incident.
Some of the 21 horses set free on the night of August 4 were injured from collisions with cars on local roads while they were on the loose for three hours.
The other 20 are making a steady recovery at the Asfordby Road base, which trains animals for service with the armed forces.
But a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence (DAC) said this afternoon (Thursday): “Sadly, one of the horses, Paddy, a horse still in training, developed complications secondary to the injuries he received on the night and had to be euthanised on Monday morning.
“Despite receiving the best veterinary care from MOD and Nottingham University veterinary clinicians, the
severe bruising and inflammation in Paddy‘s hind feet developed into irreversible laminitis.
“This condition, which is extremely painful, involves the bond between hoof wall and underlying soft tissues separating and the bone of the foot sinking through the sole of the hoof.
“Paddy had been receiving 24-hour care since the incident from the Army‘s veterinary and farriery team at
Defence Animal Training Regiment (DATR), but nothing could be done to reverse his condition and it
was decided that he should be spared further suffering by putting him to sleep.”
All the horses who galloped along the tarmac roads around the base that night have suffered from sore feet to varying degrees.
One of the horses also has a wound that goes deep into his chest and another a laceration to one of his
hind legs. However, both are expected to make a full recovery.
Major Carolyn Whiting and her veterinary team have worked tirelessly since the incident to care for
So too have Army farriers and grooms from the Defence Animal Training Regiment and Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
Eighteen horses remain stabled in order to reduce their movement and give their feet the best chance to
Two of the horses have already been released back into the field and it is hoped that at least 10 more will be well enough to be released in the next two to three weeks.
The remaining eight are expected to take up to six months to fully recover.
It is too early to say what, if any, psychological effects the incident will have on the horses.
The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Morrison, said: “Our veterinary team, farriers and
grooms are delivering genuinely expert support to our horses.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team, what they have done and what they continue to do.”
He continued: “I am also grateful to Dr John Burford, assistant professor in equine surgery at the
Nottingham University Veterinary School, who not only came out in the early hours to help carry out the
initial assessment on the horses, but continues to provide unfaltering support to our team.”
Leicestershire Police arrested two 18-year old men and one 16-year-old boy on suspicion of causing
public nuisance and dangerous driving in connection with the incident.
All three have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.