A horse has been put down as a result of the injuries he sustained when a group of army mounts were let out of their field at night.
Paddy developed complications from the severe bruising and inflammation in his hind feet, sustained on the night of 4 August when 21 horses were released from a field in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK.
“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,” said an army spokesman.
“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.”
The horses, from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery (previously reported as the Household Cavalry), had just been put out for a holiday at grass after a “busy ceremonial season” in London, including supporting the Spanish state visit and The Queen’s birthday parade, when they were let out of their field.
They galloped some seven miles along a main road and all of them have “suffered from sore feet to varying degrees”, the army spokesman said.
“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,” he added.
“Major Carolyn Whiting and her veterinary team have worked tirelessly since the incident to care for affected horses. So too have army farriers and grooms from the DATR and Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery.”
Of the remaining horses, 18 are still stabled to “give their feet the best chance to heal”. Two are back out in the field and it is hoped at least 10 more will be well enough to go out within the next two to three weeks.
The other eight may not recover fully for up to six months and “it is too early to say what if any psychological effects the incident will have on the horses”, the spokesman said.
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.
“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.
All three have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.