“This is the death of an innocent horse” Beloved family horse put to sleep in tragic circumstances

Horse killed after hunt Hounds spook it causing to run into a gate. Image retrieved The Gazette.

“This is the death of an innocent horse” Beloved family horse put to sleep in tragic circumstances

A 21-year-old horse has been put to sleep after he panicked when approximately 40 Essex and Suffolk Hunt hounds raced onto private land where he was situated. Horse, Barney, lived on the Grove Estate, Wormingford, and had been owned and loved by Lisa Line since he was just four months old.

Barney bolted in fear and ran straight through a closed gate on the land, resulting in him sustaining a broken leg. His family then faced the heartbreaking decision, as Barney lay in agony for around 40 minutes, of having him put to sleep.

The Hunt and their Hounds did not have permission to enter the private land on which Barney lived; The group has admitted that it was conducting a hunt in the area at that time and has offered its condolences.

CCTV footage, seen by The Gazette, clearly shows the hounds entering the private land. Lisa stated that she had received a phone call at about midday alerting her to a truck being on the drive where Barney was kept, the gate was broken and Barney was lying on the floor. She reports that they had not been informed that a hunt was being held in the area – if they had known, they certainly would have brought their horses inside to ensure their safety. What concerned Lisa further was that her young daughter and small dog could have been in the area and this could have placed them in significant danger.

A devastated Lisa quoted “this is the death of an innocent horse, my family horse which my children have grown up with. It’s disgusting”.

A spokesperson from the Essex and Suffolk Hunt has stated “Representatives from the hunt immediately assisted with the situation and were deeply sympathetic towards both the landowner and the owner of the injured horse, offering to assist further in any way possible.

“As horse owners ourselves, we realise what a difficult time this must be and we offer our sincere condolences to those affected by these unfortunate events”.

Many people have taken to social media to express their sadness and outrage at the incident. One enraged reader has suggested that Barney’s owners could bring a private prosecution against the people of the hunt.

Horse killed after hunt Hounds spook it causing to run into a gate. Image retrieved The Gazette.
Horse killed after hunt Hounds spook it causing to run into a gate. Image retrieved The Gazette.

Fox Hunting has long been a highly controversial issue with the dangers of the hunt towards the public widely discussed and debated.  It is illegal in England, Scotland and Wales having been banned by The Hunting Act, 2004, in England and Wales, but is still legal in Northern Ireland. However, despite overwhelming public opposition and despite the ban, in 2018 alone, 550 known illegal hunts were carried out across the UK.


The British public was surveyed in 2017 as to whether they continued to support the ban on fox hunting with a resounding result – 85% thought that fox hunting should remain illegal. However, hunts may ‘flout’ this ban due to several exemptions, ie that it remains legal to hunt foxes if they, for example, pose a danger to livestock, game, crops or fisheries.

Then there is the practice of manufactured ‘trail hunting’ during which hounds are meant to follow an artificial trail with no animal being chased or killed. However, protesters argue that many hunt organisers use actual fox scents and have been known to deliberately lay trails close by to habitats where foxes are known to be, leading them to become involved in the hunt.

In a 2021 report, a specialist crash investigator has documented 200 hunt related ‘near misses’ and has collected evidence of scores of incidents which he claims have put the public at risk. The investigator has reported on 7 road traffic collisions, nine incidents involving railways and even one that led to an airfield having to shut and divert flights. The investigator, who is also an experienced road safety expert, wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals; He provided his opinion that hunts were ‘blatantly endangering themselves and the public as well as livestock, pets, foxhounds and horses.

Sadly, this is proven to be the case by this tragic incident where Barney, a beloved family horse, has lost his life leaving behind a family who are appalled, devastated and heartbroken.

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Jan Hughes

News Reporter, Everything Horse

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