(Warning- Upsetting images)

On New Years day my horse of a lifetime and best friend Talullah, who I had owned for 18 years, had to be put to sleep. This was a direct result of our neighbours letting off fireworks close by.

Talullah was usually reasonably calm with fireworks. Combined with the terrible weather that night, we thought that the risk of random unplanned displays would be minimised. However, we couldn’t have predicted what fireworks people choose to let off.

Tragically what was let off on New Years Eve was so terrifying to her that she ran blindly straight through a solid wooden fence. She came to a stop on a local road. The police attended and closed the road and called the emergency vet. I got to the scene (with my children in the car) to find my horse lying on the road. A horrific scene that I will never be able to forget.

With the help of a vet and police escorts, we managed to get Talullah up and home.

We tried to get her stable comfortable (sedated, painkillers, fluids and a rectal exam), as for a while we were hopeful that she might get through the shock, potential internal injuries and the colic that was caused by her terror.

By 1pm on New Years day she was seriously ill and was suffering. Despite the highest level of pain relief having been administered, Talullah was still in horrific pain and was shaking, dripping with sweat, falling over, and showing a heart rate of 120.

Under the vet’s guidance l did the only thing that I could for her and made her pain end, she was euthanised.

My horse of a lifetime is dead and suffered a horrific painful death and a massive vet bill. I can’t stop thinking about what I saw and how she suffered so horrendously, I keep seeing flashbacks, all so people can enjoy fireworks at home.

I am sorry to say it but this unnecessary suffering was a direct result of people setting off fireworks in their back gardens.

I completely understand that some people will have absolutely no idea of the potential damage and suffering that fireworks can cause, so my aim is to help those people to get a better understanding of the problem and explain why we have got to put a stop to the excessive use of fireworks near livestock.

“The Animal Welfare Act 2006 states it is an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any captive or domestic animal. Government advice is – Fireworks must not be set off near livestock or horses in fields or close to buildings housing livestock”

Furthermore “Section 4 of the AWA 2006 says

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) an act of his, or a failure of his to act, causes an animal to suffer,

(d) the suffering is unnecessary.”

The offence carries a fine of up to £20,000 and/or a prison term of up to six months. The Act is enforced by local councils, animal health officers and the Police.

We all totally understand that people want to enjoy fireworks, but was it really worth the pain and suffering that it has caused, just to have them at home?

In future, I beg you to please consider going to a well publicised, organised display, instead of doing one at home. There are so many displays at various times of the year for different religions and celebrations. Most of them are organised to raise money for a charity which is even better.

My heart is broken, we have lost our very much loved family pet, my horse of a lifetime gone forever for someone’s few minutes of gratification.

For the sake of the other animals and livestock, please can we come together to make sure no other animals suffer a horrific tragic death like my best friend Talullah did.

People can do better than this!

Some notes to help people understand and provide some insight as to the realities of fireworks and horses:

*As prey animals, horses have a heightened sense of awareness, highly sensitive to loud noises, strange smells and flashing lights. Naturally, their instinct is to flee when they sense danger.

*Even the calmest of horses can become extremely unsettled. When something is upsetting to horses or causes discomfort, the adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol. Also known as the ‘stress hormone’, this prepares their body to react, resulting in significant and often dangerous behaviour changes.

*Stress in horses can very quickly cause serious digestive issues which lead to Colic. Colic is a serious, extremely painful condition that is frequently fatal.

*A horse will cope best in a familiar environment, keeping to his or her normal routine. So if it lives out, stay out. If it lives in a stable to stay in. Not all horses cope with living in a stable or being confined, for some being confined increases their distress.

*Sedatives can be purchased from a vet in advance, during working hours. This does not include weekends and bank holidays. The cost is typically around £50 for the stronger doses. Sedation only works for a set length of time and must be given in advance of the planned upset, or there is a risk that the horse’s adrenaline will override the sedation.

*Sedation is not something that is suitable for all horses due to age and other health conditions.

If you are considering having a display at home, please, please, please just stop and evaluate if it is really worth it?

If you got this far, thank you so much.😢 Joanna Barnett

Please take a look at the following links. We are all desperate for the unnecessary suffering to stop. Please support


Editors note: What a terrible start to 2023 for Joanna, sadly Talullah is not the first, and even worse….she won’t be the last.

Please support our campaign to stop firework sales to the general public and keep them to well-advertised licensed displays.

Send the link to this page to your MP.…….