Drought heartbreak: Woman forced to put down family's beloved horse


WARNING – DISTRESSING IMAGES: Thor was a thoroughbred cross-stock horse and very much a part of Jacintha Leatherby‎’s family, but on Sunday morning when she went to feed her four horses she made a heartbreaking discovery.

On the dry, drought-stricken property three of the family’s horses were waiting where they normally do, but 11-year-old Thor was found lying on the ground and was unable to sit up.

Ms Leatherby, who has eight acres at Gulgong in NSW, immediately called the vet, who gave the horse penicillin and pain relief, which helped for a short time. 

“He was getting better but then he got worse and by 11.30 he was thrashing and having fits,” she told Yahoo7.

Sadly, Ms Leatherby said the best decision was to put Thor down, adding she couldn’t watch him suffer anymore.

“The vet seemed to think he either had a stroke or heart attack due to stress from the drought,” she said.

On Sunday morning Thor was found lying on the ground and was unable to move. Source: Supplied

The devastated owner said at the moment her property consists of mostly dry grass with “no green at all.”

Ms Leatherby shared the upsetting news about Thor on the Facebook page One Day Closer to Rain (Drought), with many people saying they appreciate her opening up about her loss in what one person described as a “very brave post”.

Ms Leatherby made the decision to have her beloved horse Thor put down. Source: Supplied

“Sorry for your loss on top of everything else… at least there is no more pain and suffering for him now,” one Facebook user wrote.

Another said they believe her post “gives insight to the desperation people on the land are feeling”. 

Thor’s had not coped as well as the other horses with the dry conditions. Source: Supplied

Ms Leatherby said her three other horses are coping better with the dry conditions and acknowledged the state of other areas is worse.

However, she also has five sheep who are struggling. 

“They have hay but it isn’t the best quality because I can not afford to buy top quality hay.”

“We aren’t as bad as some places I still have some grass but not enough to sustain the horses and sheep.”

An image from the property in 2016, showing how green the grass used to be. Source: Supplied

Some people have said the drought is leading to other problems, with one woman questioning if Thor’s passing was related to tainted fodder, saying she lost her colt this way.

“The drought has more casualties than just by starvation and the ramifications will last generations. Sympathies. So heart breaking,” the Facebook user wrote.

NSW govt doubles drought relief package

The NSW government has almost doubled its drought relief package as the state’s farmers struggle with one of the driest winters on record.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday announced an extra $500 million in drought support – including $190 million in transport subsidies – taking the total package to $1 billion.

The transport subsidy is available for up to 50 per cent of the cost of moving stock, food and water. It will be capped at $20,000 per farm business.

The coalition has been under pressure to do more for battling farmers with 99 per cent of the state officially in drought.

“Conditions are now so dire that further support is needed to address the more immediate needs for farmers and their communities until the drought breaks,” Ms Berejiklian said in a statement on Monday.

with AAP