The anguish of the owner whose horse was spooked by the Bristol balloons

A heartbroken horse owner told Bristol Live how she blames the Bristol Balloon Fiesta for the injury and subsequent death of her beloved horse, who she says was injured when she was spooked by hot air balloons flying over her paddock.

The animal in question, a high-level dressage horse named Dav, suffered a serious leg injury when he reared up and tried to escape from his open paddock while a large number of balloons were being floated up early in the morning during the festivities in 2021.

The injury ended his dressage career and never healed properly, so his owner Andrea Cox made the heartbreaking decision to put him to sleep last month.

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Dav was one of several horses stabled at Ram Hill in Coalpit Heath, near Bristol, that morning in August 2021. Due to Covid, instead of having the traditional four-day event at Ashton Court, the party organizers organized a series of events, mass ascents and flights during the first two weeks of August of that year, including mass ascents taking off from different parts of the city.

Andrea said her friend, who also rides horses at the Ram Hill paddock, called to tell her that the horses were freaking out because a large number of balloons were flying over them.

“I got there as soon as I could. The balloons were still in the sky, and we concentrated on calming the horses and getting them inside. Dav was clearly hurt,” Andrea said.


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