AFTER the Gazette’s January 16 story about Lilly, the five month-old Londonderry filly who was injured on New Year’s Eve last year after panicking over fireworks, a horse-owner who agists her horses at South Windsor contacted us to say this was no isolated incident and that people shouldn’t let fireworks off at home.
Heidi Hartwig’s purebred Arabian stallion Faizaan, with the bloodline of international champions, was a special friend of 15 years. Ms Hartwig films horse care and stud videos, said Faizaan went through similar trauma two weeks before Christmas in 2011 — but wasn’t so lucky.
On the night of Friday, December 11 that year, illegal fireworks were let off next to a property where Faizaan was agisted on Fairey Road, South Windsor.
Ms Hartwig recalled the terror of trying to calm her scared horses and fretting dogs.
‘‘It was late at night and I was about to leave the property where he was agisted on my way to bed, when people nearby started letting fireworks off,’’ she said. ‘‘I sat in the dark and waited with the horses for two hours, as the fireworks were let off at about 30 minute intervals, and when I thought the fireworks had stopped, Faizaan was still snorting but had calmed considerably.’’
Under the impression the fireworks had finished for the night, Ms Hartwig headed home to bed and returned in the morning to find Faizaan down on the ground in his paddock.
‘‘I called the vet who diagnosed him with a fractured shoulder,’’ Ms Hartwig said. ‘‘I also found gas cylinder cans just outside his paddock.’’
‘‘As I watched him trying to get up I became angry and more frustrated,’’ she said. ‘‘All that was keeping him down was his shoulder and being the proud stallion that he was, the vet and I managed to get him back on his feet. I nursed him all day trying to keep him up on his feet, but later that day he fell again and wouldn’t get back up.’’
The next day Ms Hartwig had to make the decision to have her ‘best mate’ euthanased, who was otherwise healthy and had recently begun performing in the showring with the prospect of being put up for stud.
‘‘The only thing I am grateful for is that I had time to say goodbye,’’ she said. ‘‘It was painful to have to say goodbye to a horse that was fine in every other way.’’