Horses freed from paddock end up lame
Nonprofit organisation Southland Riding for the Disabled has been hit with vet bills and costly medical supplies after seven horses were let out of their paddocks last weekend and have gone lame.
Operations manager Ruth Clark said it was fortunate none of the horses were hit by passing traffic, however they had ended up in an adjacent paddock that had loose wire and was filled with red clover, which made the horses sick.
One horse - a favourite with disabled clients - became severely ill with laminitis, a metabolic disorder that can affect hoof health.
The horse was in so much pain it could hardly stand, she said.
Whoever had opened the gate may not have intended to let the horses out, however the outcome was costly for a nonprofit organisation, took up valuable volunteer time, and put the animals in unnecessary pain, she said.
"I don't think they meant for this to happen. I would assume it is someone who has no idea what this would do.
"I'm just counting our blessings that none of them got colic [a gastrointestinal illness that can cause death in horses] or went on to the main road."
The lush paddock the horses grazed in on Sunday night was probably the reason none had strayed further on to the road, she said.
The schedule of participants involved with the Riding for the Disabled programme had also had to be changed.
The Southland Times