The stress of Guy Fawkes is being blamed for the death of a Hawke's Bay horse whose "golden" personality helped change lives.

Leg-Up Trust Peaches was a favourite with children gaining confidence and life skills by being around horses.

But she died on Tuesday after developing a stress-related condition over the past few days. Leg-Up Trust founder Ros Rowe believes it was caused by fireworks.

Rowe said the organisation had staff with the horses while fireworks were going off, but it wasn't enough to save Peaches.

Advertisement

Horses were naturally flight animals, and locking them up to stop them bolting due to the noise could also cause them stress, she said.

Rowe, along with other staff members at Leg-Up Trust, want a ban on the commercial sale of fireworks, and public displays limited to one a year.

"I don't want any more lives to be lost.

"People with animals, and particularly horses, do all they can to protect their animals but at the end of the day we're at the mercy of those who think it's okay in rural areas - where there's a lot of livestock - to let them off."

Rowe said Peaches had a "special way with her".

Rowe remembered one teenager who was so severely suicidal, staff were warned not to take their eyes off him.

"We gave him Peaches, and she just reached out to him in her special way.

"At the end of the session, he just said 'I feel amazing'."

Peaches had a calm quiet personality, but Rowe believes the horse realised one particular boy just needed to have some fun.

"She's not a playful horse, but she played with him.

"She was splashing him with water out of the trough, she just seemed to know."

Staff at the Leg Up Trust were now in mourning, and Rowe said the children would need help with grief too.

"For some of those kids, Peaches was the only bright spot in their life."

As well as the kids, Peaches helped other horses at the trust, including Kaimanawa foals who came to the trust after the annual muster.

Ros Rowe with Peaches, a horse she described as a golden horse with a golden personality. Photo / Supplied
Ros Rowe with Peaches, a horse she described as a golden horse with a golden personality. Photo / Supplied

She was also looking after Molly, a Kaimanawa mare which arrived at Rowe's place heavily pregnant.

"She arrived last Thursday, and Peaches adopted her. Now Molly is facing another challenge."

Leg-Up Trust administration officer Sandy Dooney said it was not just horses they were concerned about.

"It's deer, it's sheep, it's cattle beast, it's any rural animal which never sees anything like that."

Molly, a Kaimanawa mare which arrived at the trust on Thursday, and has lost her friend and babysitter, Peaches. Photo / Duncan Brown
Molly, a Kaimanawa mare which arrived at the trust on Thursday, and has lost her friend and babysitter, Peaches. Photo / Duncan Brown

Fire services confirmed they had responded to six fireworks-related callouts across their Central District.

Firefighters were on Marine Parade on Tuesday morning dampening down fires after the traditional family friendly fireworks night on the beach.

A petition is on the parliamentary website, calling for a ban on the commercial sale of fireworks.