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Horror death of pony in Marchwood, New Forest, hit by car after being scared by fireworks

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A DISTRAUGHT pony owner is campaigning for fireworks rules to be reviewed after her animal was spooked into jumping a gate and running head-first into a car.

Claire Willard said her 18-month-old pony Archer was in a field in Marchwood, near Veals Lane, when loud bangs and flashes startled him.

Announcing his death on social media, she wrote: “This is heartbreaking for me to write but there is one less pony in my life today.

"Last night I got that call that all horse owners dread. The one that tells you your horse is dead.”

Archer in his field
Archer in his field

She said Archer had apparently jumped a gate out of its field after being scared by loud bangs and flashes.

She said: “That was a hell of a jump for a little pony. Someone stopped and put hazards on and tried to calm Archer.

"Another car came past, overtaking the car with hazards on, and at the same time another firework went off scaring Archer right into the path of the car."

She said the pony was hit head-first, leaving the car as a write-off and the driver with cuts, grazes and a possible sprained leg,

She went on: "By the time I got there they had already contacted a local farmer to move Archer's body as it was blocking the road. So I got to see my pony lifted onto a flatbed trailer. He left a pool of blood on the road.”

Apologising for posting the photos of Archer’s body, she said: “I don't normally take photos when they are taken away, but I wanted to show people just how horrible it is.

"As horse owners we can't just wrap them in a blanket and put them in a car. Special equipment is needed, and dealing with that along with losing your pony is horrible.

Archer had to be taken away on a truck
Archer had to be taken away on a truck

"Is all that worth five minutes of flashes and bangs? Please think sensibly, folks. I am begging you.”

She is now campaigning for changes to the law, such as allowing only silent fireworks to be sold to the public.

Claire, from Woolston, said: “This morning Archer was taken away. I have some of his tail hair as a keepsake. Why am I going into such detail about all of this? Well, I am hoping that maybe some of you will think before buying fireworks. Maybe go for the silent ones or, failing that, go to an organised display.

"Fireworks and animals do not mix well. Neither do folk with PTSD, autism and noise sensitivity. I now have a pony-shaped hole in my heart.

"Archer was a complete dude and such an amazing character. Even though I haven't had him long, I fell head over heels for him. Going to seriously miss the little chap.”

The petition calls for restricting private use of fireworks to traditional events such as Guy Fawkes Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali; reducing the maximum permitted decibels for private-use fireworks; requiring fireworks packaging to be labelled indicating the noise level; and for all public fireworks displays to be licensed.

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