A Scottish mother’s planned wedding gift to her daughter was ruined when she bought a favourite pony, and its dock and tail had to be amputated.
Elizabeth Russell paid to have the Welsh mountain pony transported to Britain from France, a journey of more than 1,000 miles.
But when the six-year-old Gartconnel Warrior arrived in the UK its tail had to be completely removed by a vet.
A tail bandage had been applied which did not shift during the four day journey and restricted the blood supply, causing gangrene which meant that the pony had to have his tail amputated entirely.
Now the stallion is unable to protect itself from flies, cannot be shown - and what could have been the perfect present has been ruined.
Breeder Mrs Russell, who runs the Gartconnel Welsh Mountain Pony Stud at Killearn, near Glasgow, has received £5,000 Horse Accident Compensation settlement from the company which transported the animal over four days from Albi in southern France.
She said: “The pony is now very fit and healthy, but he’s an amputee.
“He is a top quality show animal, but how can I take him into the ring with no tail? He’s young and healthy and beautiful - but hyper sensitive and doesn’t like his tail being touched. He’s been disfigured and can’t be used
“He’s very cold in the winter and is riddled with flies in the summer. He’s been ruined.”
Mrs Russell bred the pony at Gartconnel, a prestigious stud started by her late husband John in 1964, before selling him as a two-year-old.
“He’s a beautiful pony and my daughter was really fond of him,” she said.
“When my daughter was getting married I found he was up for sale again. I thought it would make a nice wedding present, as she is continuing with the stud.”
Mrs Russell agreed the sale with the owner, who had used him as a jumping pony, and arranged transportation through Eurosports Horses.
After a four-day journey back to Britain, Gartconnel Warrior was handed over to a friend of Mrs Russell’s in Leicestershire, to rest before the next stage of his journey to Glasgow.
“Then they called to say they had put him in a stable but couldn’t get the tail bandage off and had to cut it off.
“I was a little surprised as you should not put a tail bandage on a pony for a journey as long as that. You should use a tail guard or leave it free, otherwise you restrict the blood flow - and that’s what happened in this case.”
Within a couple of days large amounts of hair had begun to fall out and the tail and dock were beginning to suppurate and scab. A vet diagnosed gangrene and the amputation was needed to prevent the infection travelling to the spine, which would have led to the pony being destroyed.
“In the summer we put fly sheets on but he destroys them,” said Mrs Russell. “Basically we keep him well doused in flyspray. Now we have a ruined wedding gift and a wonderful animal has been mutilated.
After getting no satisfaction when she complained to Eurosports Horses, Mrs Russell engaged specialist equine lawyer Mary Ann Charles, from Newcastle-based Shaw and Co Solicitors UK, who negotiated the settlement.
She described it as “a rather sad and unusual case”.
After starting court proceedings and obtaining judgement against Eurosports Horses Mrs Charles, who is also a horse owner and breeder, used her knowledge of equine care and breeding to argue for an appropriate settlement.
“The defendants were difficult to pin down, but ultimately our clients did recover fair compensation for the costs involved in dealing with the damage caused to her very beautiful pony,” she said.
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Those involved with horses and horse riding will know from personal experience, word of mouth or from equine magazines that serious horse riding accidents sadly can, and do on occasion, happen. Who is responsible?
Shaw and Co Solicitors are one of the most experienced law firms in England, with over 20 years experience in accident compensation claims.
Shaw and Co Solicitors have 20 years experience in Horse Accident Compensation Claims. Strongly linked to the Equestrian community, Shaw and Co Solicitors are one of the most experienced Equine Law practising firms in the UK.