A horse named Cocopops is to be put out to pasture more than a year after being injured during a nighttime intrusion at Riding for the Disabled (RDA) in Whanganui.

The pony had only been at the facility for a month when a group described as "high-spirited youths" climbed into the paddock and disturbed a group of sleeping horses in late 2017.

RDA head coach Wendy Sellars said the incident was filmed with a phone and posted on Facebook.

"They were possibly not quite sober and feeling ten foot tall - it was never going to end well."


Cocopops had recently been purchased at a cost of $5000 and Sellars said she may have been less wary than the other horses.

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"She was run over by another horse, Stella, who was trying to get away from the youths.

"They were pulling her tail and ultimately flipped her over, causing her to panic and in her haste to get away she ran over Cocopops, damaging her shoulder and lower leg."

The eight-year-old pony is still lame from soft tissue damage and a vet has recommended rest to give it time to heal.

The only alternative is to give her daily doses of painkiller which Sellars says is not a good option.

"It would be equivalent to a human taking a drug like tramadol every day and it would only mask the pain."

Volunteer Renee Onishenko has been riding at RDA since she was 8 and is very fond of Cocopops.


"I only got to ride her once before she got hurt," she said.

"She is really nice and I'm sad I can't ride her."

Sellars said the pony has the ideal temperament for riders with disabilities and the fact that she will be unavailable is both sad and costly.

"She will stay at Tracey Baxter's place in Westmere for a year.

"Tracey cares for all our horses when they are sick or injured and we hope Cocopops will recover there."

RDA chairman Ray Stevens said it is disappointing that the youths who caused the injury were not charged.

"There was phone footage which should have identified the culprits but they have not been charged."

A police spokeswoman said screenshots were obtained from Snapchat video footage but were too indistinct to identify the intruders.

"Police identified and spoke to the person who had sent the image on Snapchat and were satisfied that he had nothing to do with the incident - he happened to be passing by and took a video but did not know the offenders."

Stevens said he is dismayed that anyone would wish to cause harm to animals and he was upset to learn about miniature horse, Star, that died after a knife attack in Waitati last week.

"Our horses bring so much happiness and confidence to people and I cannot understand how anyone would want to hurt them."

About 60 riders regularly attend RDA and the charity has 10 horses including two miniature ones and there are two coaches supported by 30 volunteers.

They are fundraising to purchase their Purnell St site and at last count, they had raised $140,000 towards the $445,000 they need by June 2020.