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Plight of lonely horse captures Stafford woman's heart

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 29, 2014

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THE PLIGHT of a horse, living alone in a field near Milford has captured a Stafford woman’s heart.

Louise Ayling, 47, of Ingestre Road, first came across Queen of Hearts on her daily commute.

Ms Ayling, a senior child practitioner at a residential home for young people, said she pulled over in a layby after noticing the horse and thinking it looked sad.

She told the Newsletter: “I started stopping off pretty regularly to see her. Eventually I met another couple who told me her story and after that I met the owner.”

Ms Ayling said she was told Queen of Hearts had lived in the field, up until last summer, with nine other horses.

When her owner, Dave Hatch, had been forced to move the herd to another field he had been unable to capture Queen of Hearts and despite repeated attempts had been forced to leave her there alone.

“She’s such a lovely horse.”

“Apparently she couldn’t be caught,” said Ms Ayling. “She hid back a bit while quite a few people have attempted to catch her.”

Mr Hatch told the Newsletter: “The trouble is the horse is just uncatchable.

“It’s costing me a lot of money. The owner of the field wants me out, but I can’t get close enough to her.

“The perfect solution from my perspective is to catch her and move her to the field with the other horses but basically the problem is actually doing that.”

Mr Hatch said he had contacted the RSPCA and on two separate occasions officers had been out to sedate the horse and try to help move her.

“We darted her and everything else, but it just made her wilder,” he said. “I’m running out of ideas.”

An RSPCA spokesman confirmed the charity had been to the field on two occasions, in December and again in January, to try to assist in the capture of Queen of Hearts, attempting to sedate her in order to make her easier for Mr Hatch to move her.

“Basically, she’s quite wild and has not been handled for a long time.

“We’ve been out twice with a vet to try and sedate her so the farmer can then capture her but it hasn’t been successful. Her adrenaline kicks in when she gets darted and she just keeps going,” she said. “And because she’s not used to being handled she gets quite worked up.

“It’s cost around £1,000 so far.”

She said the RSPCA had agreed with the farmer to give him time to try to tame the horse more and get her more used to people but were in regular contact with him.

She confirmed the charity had no welfare concerns or fears the horse was being mistreated

Mr Hatch said he would be happy for anyone who was able to safely capture Queen of Hearts to take her, but he wanted her to go to a good home.

“When I got her she had been mistreated and I don’t want that to happen again,” he said.

“She shouldn’t be just put in a stable or put back out to breed or anything. She should be a companion to another horse or horses.”

Mr Hatch said he was happy for people interested in adopting Queen of Hearts or who thought they might be able to help with her safe capture to contact Ms Ayling on 07872069333.

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