Glad to be home ... Stephanie Watt and Flying Mouse.
Glad to be home ... Stephanie Watt and Flying Mouse.

Flying Mouse returns

by BELINDA SCOTT

FLYING Mouse is home at last and he is even happier than his teenage owner.

The grey gelding that became the Coffs Coast's symbol of the trials and tribulations of horses and their owners affected by the Equine Influenza outbreak has returned to his Nana Glen paddock for the first time in six months.

The homecoming has been a delight for the 16-year-old gelding and his young owner, Year 7 Bishop Druitt College student Stephanie Watt, said Stephanie's mother, Elizabeth Watt.

"I picked him up at a quarter to 12 on Saturday and we were home by 7pm," said Mrs Watt.

"He was so happy that he was on his toes jumping up and down and was so excited I didn't want to put him into the big paddock," she said.

"I put him into a small paddock and he ran around like crazy until 10pm at night so we finally had to put him in the stable.

"He's probably wishing he was back in Sydney because Stephanie has ridden him every single day."

On Saturday Mrs Watt collected the horse from the agistment stables where he had been confined since before Christmas.

The horse had not been on his own turf since August 2007, when Elizabeth Watt, Stephanie and Flying Mouse headed north for a weekend of competition at Warwick in Queensland.

The event was stopped when equine influenza was detected in a number of horses and 300 horses and their riders were quarantined.

Flying Mouse caught the horse flu and later suffered complications.

His owners were stranded far from home and family in an equine 'concentration camp'. Even after they were allowed to return home, their horse had to remain in a quarantine zone as part of the massive effort to beat EI.

NSW has now been declared free of the disease.



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