A teenaged rider is devastated after the horse that helped her through ME was stolen from its field and left to die in woods.
But Esther Roberts, 18, from West Stow, will on Sunday take part in a sponsored ride on a borrowed horse and is dedicating her fund raising efforts to the memory of her Irish Draught cross mare Etti.
She had checked Etti in a field at Mill Road, Hengrave, at about 7.30pm last Wednesday night (August 26), but she returned next morning, at about 8am, and found the electric fencing pulled down and the mare missing.
That evening, Etti was found dead in nearby woods.
Esther said: “She had been forcefully taken from her field and then dumped in some woods soon after, where she went down with colic, due to the stress, and passed away.”
Colic is a painful and often severe intestinal condition which can be brought on by stress and can be fatal, especially if not treated.
Esther said on Sunday: “She had cuts in her mouth and on her tummy. Someone had led her with something harsh in her mouth.”
She said electric fencing had been cut, the posts pulled out and there were skid marks as if Etti had been chased.
Esther had had the eight-year-old bay for two years.
She said. “I was ill and Etti really helped me through my illness – she became my reason for living.
“I had ME and severe depression. At one stage we might have had to sell her, but I made a real effort and got a job to help pay for her. Without her I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“Horses know when you’re not well. They love you no matter what.”
But it had been a two-way relationship. Etti had been nervous when she arrived, but Esther spent time with her, often sitting reading aloud to her, and she gradually calmed down until she would lay beside her owner in the field.
Esther added: “It’s been devastating. I’m trying to get on with it because it doesn’t do any good to mope – it’s easy to say that, but hard to do.”
But on Sunday she will be riding a cob called Jack in a sponsored ride on Newmarket Heath.
“I was hoping to do it on Etti but I’m going to do it and make her proud,” she said. “It’s for an amazing cause, Macmillan Cancer Support – my mum has supported people through cancer.”
Anyone wanting to sponsor Esther can contact her on Facebook
Anyone who saw horse transport, or suspicious activity in the Mill Road area on the night of August 26-27 should call Bury St Edmunds police on 101 quoting reference BR-15-774.