A heartbroken family want to know who stabbed their gentle and trusting horse, Joe, in a field at Holbeach.
The knife wound came within centimetres of killing the veteran horse outright – and his owners spent an anxious 24-hours after a vet warned his life could be ebbing away.
The 19-year-old piebald horse was found injured in his field off Foxes Low Road on Sunday teatime by owner Brian Richardson, who called a vet straight away.
His daughter, Chelsea Richardson (21), said: “We were told on Sunday evening that Joe’s heart had gone into the first stages of failure because of the shock.
“He was given a relaxant to keep him calm and we were told to make the most of the next 24 hours with him because the vet thought he wouldn’t pull through.
“We were all absolutely broken, really upset. We have had him for 15 years. He is a massive part of our family.”
The stab wound was in Joe’s ribs – had it been slightly further forward it would have fatally punctured his lung.
Police are investigating a knife attack on a well-known show horse in a field at Holbeach on Sunday.
The owners of Joe, a 19-year-old piebald, are asking witnesses to name the person responsible for his near-fatal injury.
Joe is recovering at the home of his owners, the Richardsons in Holbeach St Marks, and will never again return to the field at Holbeach where the attack happened.
Chelsea Richardson said the family had kept horses on the field, which is off Foxes Low Road and backs on to Battlefields Lane, for the last four years without any incidents. But now they daren’t risk further attacks.
Chelsea said children often play in the trees in Battlefields Lane and wonders if one of them may have witnessed the attack on Joe.
Joe was usually in the field with two younger horses, but they were away at a show on Sunday.
Chelsea said: “He’s really trusting. He trusts too many people. I think that’s why he was so shaken that somebody would do that to him.”
Joe has competed nationally in show and ridden show classes, including flagship events at Hickstead.
Chelsea said: “He is very well known.”
Joe’s wound was about one-and-a-half inches deep and vets confirmed it was inflicted by a knife. Following initial treatment, Joe was taken on Monday to a vet heart specialist for further checks.
* Anyone with information can call police on 101 and ask for PC Tim Newell.