By BELINDA SCOTT
ELIZABETH and Stephanie Watt are hoping to head home on Friday ... but they will be coming home without their horse.
Flying Mouse, the grey gelding that has kept the Nana Glen mother and daughter at the Morgan Park equestrian centre in Warwick for the last six weeks, will be heading for Sydney, into another red zone and another anxious and costly waiting period for his owners.
He is banned from entering the amber zone that covers the Coffs Coast.
Elizabeth Watt said yesterday she was hoping to load him onto a float bound for Sydney on Friday, but the horse would have a 20-hour journey, because the float would have to travel via EI red zones through Goondiwindi, Moree and Dubbo, to Sydney.
The single mother, who has been separated from her younger daughter during the equine flu ordeal, will then face a $120 a week feed bill.
A succession of 'nightmare days' have left Elizabeth Watt exhausted and in tears this week, as Primary Industries and horse organisation officials make decisions, only to rescind them within hours, raising and then dashing her hopes.
Her arrangements to move herself, her daughter and their horse have been upset again and again.
And as of yesterday she still had no guarantees.
An angry Mrs Watt, who had watched hundreds of Queensland horses leave Morgan Park on Tuesday, said NSW DPI did not want to know about the remaining 35 riders stranded in Warwick
"NSW DPI are treating us like second class citizens- they won't even talk to Queensland DPI about us. They don't want to know about us," Mrs Watt said.
"We are saying 'Don't you understand we have been in quarantine for six weeks?'"
"We are in a queue of hundreds of permits with stallions going to red zones. All we know is that we will get a permit some time this week.
On Tuesday, Flying Mouse was bound for the Hunter on his release, but by yesterday the Watts were told this had been ruled out, amid plans the Hunter could become a purple zone.
Mrs Watt was freshly annoyed because she said while her horse was facing a circuitous 20-hour trip to Sydney, thoroughbreds on their way to the Hunter for the breeding season had been travelling down the New England Highway.
NSW DPI officer Brett Fifield said yesterday this was illegal and no horses should be travelling on that highway.
He said the permit system meant each case was judged on its merits by veterinarians.