Drivers slammed for stranding horses in Costessey, Norfolk

3:00 PM June 10, 2022

Panicked pet owners stayed with their “distraught” steeds until midnight over the Jubilee weekend after they were unable to move the terrified animals.

The Gaffer family keep their three horses in Costessey and had planned on moving the animals ahead of the firework display on June 4.

However arriving the afternoon before the event – so as to disrupt their beloved pets as little as possible – they found the entrance to the field blocked by droves of drivers.

Lacey pictured being taken to Bowthorpe care village for a visit.
– Credit: Sonja Gaffer

Sonja Gaffer, 56, and her daughter Zoe Gaffer, 26, live in nearby Hellesdon and arrived well in advance of the festivities.

Sonja said: “We’ve got three horses: Lacey who is five, Loki who is 15 and Harry who is 28.

“We found out about the fireworks and wanted to take the horses out in the trailer while it happened as it can be very distressing for the horses.

“But so many people had parked in our private track, off Longwater Lane, that we couldn’t get the horse trailer through at all.”

Instead the pair remained on site for hours trying to calm the animals down.

Sonja added: “There were cones stopping people from parking on the pavement so people had just decided to park on private property instead.

“No one had the right to be there – it was so inconsiderate.”

Zoe added: “We knew the fireworks were going to happen and there’s nothing we could do about that.

“But even though we had a plan we couldn’t do anything.

“We were there until after midnight calming Lacey and the others down.”

“We were worried that she would run blind through a fence, shredding her skin, which could kill her.

Zoe, 26, said: "Even though you know something like this is going to happen you can't do much about it."

Zoe, 26 pictured with her pony Harry, said: “What could we do?”
– Credit: Miss J’s Photographic

“The stress can also cause colic which can be a killer,” she explained.

The family put the video on social media to try and raise awareness as to what happened.

Sonja added: “We had people accusing us of animal cruelty because we left the horses out.

“That was very hurtful.

Lacey was captured running scared due to the fireworks which were set off around 10pm on June 4.

Lacey was captured running scared due to the fireworks which were set off around 10pm on June 4.
– Credit: Sonja Gaffer

“Others were saying we should have taken them somewhere else which is exactly what we were trying to do.

“But we couldn’t even get them out of the field – so what could we do?”

Sonja and Zoe Gaffer's private track, in Longwater Lane, which was blocked during the Costessey fete.

Sonja and Zoe Gaffer’s private track off Longwater Lane.
– Credit: Google Maps

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