Published Thursday, 11 October 2012
A Friesian foal owned by the Fawcett family frolicking in a field. (© Fawcett family)
Alex Fawcett, whose family breeds horses in the Saintfield area, said he was left "in total shock" by the sight of the distressed animal at the roadside.
He said the Friesian foal was in a field adjacent to the Saintfield Road with its mother Grace - but escaped through a gate which someone had left opened.
The vulnerable animal made his way to the road where he was struck down at around 5am on Thursday 13 September.
The collision happened about 200 yards from the Temple Crossroads, which are located between Carryduff and Ballynahinch.
A police spokesperson said: "Evidence at the scene suggested the foal had been struck by a car however the driver did not remain nor report the collision."
Animal lover Alex, who has grown up working with horses, said that he was left "very angry" that the foal had been left injured, helpless, and in distress at the side of a busy road.
"The foal was crippled," he explained. "We had to drag him into a horsebox off the road and get him home.
"We were totally shocked. It happened early in the morning, it was almost like a bad dream - like it wasn't really happening."
Alex said that despite medical attention and round the clock care, the little foal was in too much pain and had to be put to sleep four days later.
"It was horrible have to put your own animal down," he said, adding that his family had been breeding horses in the Saintfield area for around 15 years.
So young was the little colt, he had not been named.
He described the incident as "very stressful" - not only for his family but for the mare.
Mother Grace had went looking for him - and she too was found at the roadside that morning.
Thankfully, she was not injured.
"She was left in distress too. She didn't understand and for days she was running about the field shrieking, not understanding what had happened," added Alex.
Police have appealed for anyone who was on the Saintfield Road on Thursday 13 September around the time of the collision to come forward.