Horses recovered after theft ordeal

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Wavin' Flag and owners after 2014 Gold Cup.

Wavin' Flag and owners after 2014 Gold Cup.

WAVIN’ Flag and Maximum Flo, the two horses stolen last Wednesday from Jenny Millington’s Thoroughbred Horse Rehoming Centre (THRC) in Phillipi, Western Cape, have been recovered.

While Wavin’ Flag was returned to THRC shaken and somewhat sore but relatively unscathed, Maximum Flo had to be euthanised following multiple injuries sustained during his ordeal.

The recovery on Friday followed a large-scale search for the two thoroughbreds which involved the SAPS’ stock theft unit as well as a private investigating team with all the modern technology at their disposal, hired by Wavin’ Flag’s former trainer Brett Crawford and part-owners Adrian Todd and Grant Knowles.

Millington, who manages the rehoming facility on the property of the old Hyjo Stud, formerly owned by the late Hymie Maisel, said on Sunday: “I’ve been working here since the farm was sold about four years ago and we’ve never had an incident like this.

“We have a stable area and three paddocks with three capable and caring horse handlers permanently in our employ. We’re in the farmlands, surrounded by bush and adjacent to other farms. The horses are peaceful, they have a relaxed and good life here. In previous years Mr Maisel’s broodmares and young horses walked around freely with no problems.”

Millington explained: “Wavin’ Flag and Maximum Flo were together in their paddock on Wednesday afternoon. I gave them their regular lunch and water at about 12:45 pm. When I got back at about 3pm, as I always do, they were gone, taken.

“The paddocks and the stables can’t be seen from the road, the perpetrators must have watched us while lurking in the bushes and they must have known our working habits. They cut through the bushes at the back of our stable area to get away with the horses through other farm areas. They avoided the main farm road in fear of being spotted.”

Millington said that there were presently another six horses at THRC, most looking to be rehomed to suitable owners. She said: “Some friends of ours just last week decided they would take Maximum Flo and they were making a donation. We’d been doing therapy on his back since January, he was a bit sore.

“Wavin’ Flag arrived last October from Brett Crawford’s stables. Brett has looked after him, fed him ever since then. We’ve been looking for a new home for him.”

Millington added: “There is absolutely no question of neglect here and the owners cannot be held responsible for what happened. To my mind, the issue is the theft of two horses from our facility and what we can do to prevent this from happening again.”