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Rescued Australian Brumby falls victim to violent attack

By Mark Carroll

Mickey Mouse, an Australian brumby, was attacked at home in his paddock sometime during the night of October 7, 2013.  Investigators concluded Mickey was approached in his paddock by a person or persons and stabbed through the chest. After delivering the first blow the knife was then pulled upwards before being removed leaving a gaping hole in Mickey’s chest. Unaware of his plight his owners, a retired couple, did not realise his dilemma until daylight the next morning.


Mickey is a one-year-old brumby who was caught in the forest near Rosewood in N.S.W. After being held captive for a short time he was whisked across the Victorian border to the Echuca Sale yards where he escaped the knackery for the rock bottom price of ten dollars and came to be known as “Mickey, the ten-dollar brumby.”  His winter coat covered up his emaciated body. His jaw was out of alignment and his body riddled with bugs inside and out.  One of his eyes was injured and had a third of its bottom lid missing. If that was not enough for the little Aussie to cope with all of his gums were impacted with grass seeds. He was not expected to last the night. His lifesaving owner, Susan Howman, expected to arise next morning and give the ‘poor little bugger’ a decent burial. Mickey had other ideas of cause.  He fought all night to stay alive. Rising the next morning Susan and her husband expected to confront the worse case scenario- burial.

Australian brumby foal, Mickey Mouse, shortly after his rescue from the Echuca sale yards.

Australian brumby foal, Mickey Mouse, shortly after his rescue from the Echuca sale yards.


Overjoyed that Mickey had lasted the night Susan did not have to think twice in saying “If your going to fight Mickey we’re going to fight with you.”  From that moment on, every possible means were put in place to help nurse Mickey back to full health. Slowly and step by step Mickey learnt the best of what humankind could be like – caring and compassionate.  From equine vets and dentists, medicines to horse garments, slowly and bit by bit, this little Aussie battler empowered the humans who fought on his behalf, epitomizing, for both horse and human, the fighting spirit and hardiness of Australia and the high country which shone bright through Mickey.


As one hurdle after another was cleared, the little brumby was on the mend. Then the unthinkable challenged him once more as he contracted pneumonia. This battle would be no different.  He would fight like hell to keep going!


Just when Susan thought she had seen off the last of Mickey’s trouble a new problem was discovered- a botched gelding thought to be done the old way.  Mickey still had a testicle that he wasn’t supposed to have.  Susan’s equine vet examined him and looking at the mess in his scrotum, they concluded no vet would have made such a mess of the area.  Mickey had to be gelded again but this time it would be done ethically and humanely.  The poor little brumby had been to ‘hell and back’.

Late September 2013, fit and healthy and only his second gelding left to face, life was good for this enduring brumby.

Late September 2013, fit and healthy and only his second gelding left to face, life was good for this enduring brumby.

In his new home, Mickey had become accustomed to the gentle touch of a human hand yet would see that trust in humankind be his enemy on the night of Monday the 7th of October, 2013.   Climbing through a fence at the rear of Mickey’s paddock, it is believed that a perpetrator(s) walked up to Mickey without incident and thrust a razor sharp knife deep and upward into his chest. They then left Mickey’s paddock walking along the same path they had made for themselves when entering.

WHY?  Why Mickey?   What did this innocent little horse do to deserve this?


Mickey’s owner Sue, like many of us abhors cruelty and fights hard to see that all animals, and especially horses, get a fair go. After all, that is the Australian Way. It is what has made the country, culture and people successful and strong.  Unfortunately, the humans who did this show the ugly reality and cruel and Un-Australian side of our people, not to mention the horse trade.  It is humankind at his worst.  Why Mickey was a clear message for Susan to back off!  A retired woman who has dedicated her life, tirelessly helping to rehome the throw-a-way horses that find their way to her.  It is akin to assaulting a baby in their own home who is in the nursery sleeping and out of immediate sight of mum and dad.


This is a case where Factions in Australia have stooped to the lowest ebbs of humanity when it comes to protecting their reputations and cash flows no matter at what expense.  In this case THE HORSE IS EXPENDABLE and as social science research has well documented, what is done by humans to animals, humans will go on to do to other humans.

The wound one-year old Australian Brumby foal Mickey sustained in an violent attack while he was peacefully grazing in his paddock.

The wound one-year old Australian Brumby foal Mickey sustained in
an violent attack while he was peacefully grazing in his paddock.


UPDATE:  Susan’s vet attended to Mickey and he had thirty to forty stitches inserted and administered with antibiotics.  The vet is confident that Mickey will make a full recovery.  No vital organs were damaged in the attack.  He was standing up this morning eating his breakfast without too much discomfort.  He is the epitome of the fighting spirit of our brumbies- so regal and refined, so inspiring and spiritually empowering.  An ‘Aussie battler’ with true grit, determination and durability.  These are the horses that built our nation, served alongside our soldiers in war and stood beside us when we needed them most.    K.D. Lang sings in one her songs  “I would walk through the snow barefoot if you’d open up your door.”   We would all walk through the snow barefoot for you Mickey Mouse!

Written by maeleesun

Comments (17 comments)

  • January 1, 2016 at 12:13 AM

    What this cruel miserable low life did to this innocent little horse is “Beyond the Pale”
    I truly commend the wonderful persons who have stood by this lovely little brave horse.
    Mickey you were only worth $10.00 some time ago, but right now you are priceless.
    You and your carers are tremendous encouragement to all lovers of animals, to give their all in giving them a life they deserve.

  • Marley O'Brien
    March 29, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    His name should be “Mighty Mouse” because he clearly is one tough & amazing gift of life. This beautiful soul was destine to be here on this earth and surrounded by his amazing family! I could only hope they caught the slime of this earth who inflicted that pain on such a innocent creature! May Karma slap them right in the face & knock them into the depths of the earth where they belong!

  • Cecily Inverness
    November 22, 2013 at 3:15 AM

    How is the dear little fella coming along? Fingers crossed the culprit will be found out.

  • Mark
    October 13, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    Hi After writing Mickeys story Sue has kept me updated on Mickey.Unfortunately the 24/7 care took it’s toll on Sue and Mickey and it was decided to hospitalise Mickey.He is doing really well and at this stage there are no complications.The worst case scenario for Mickey is if he contracts an infection. With this in mind he is being monitored constantly in hospital as he slowly heals. The ‘brumby spirit’is alive and kicking in this little Aussie.Cheers, Mark.

  • Chris
    October 12, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    What a totally senseless act, whoever did this doesn’t deserve the privilege of staying alive.

  • October 12, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    What tremendous spirit the owner Susan Howman shows. The horse just doesn’t know what else to do but try to live, but the owner faces the costs and the strain. What a wonderful opportunity this colt has been given. I have saved horses, and i understand the journey. So well done for doing it over and over again, and not being daunted. Ohuatahi Warmbloods (Facebook)

  • wendy
    October 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    I hope that you have secured his paddock or moved him some where safe so this can not happen again. You say this was a warning to you, WHY ! shame micky had to be stabbed. If there are people out there that don’t like what your doing & you know it, then at least make it safe for the horses that you take into care. That mongrel should be hung.

  • Joanne Housbey
    October 11, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    Omg I can’t believe someone could be so cruel .
    He’s a little fighter this fella hope he recovers really quick

  • Jaye
    October 10, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Wishing the little Aussie $10 Brumby Battler, a speedy recovery- he has worked his way into so many hearts, with his journey from Saleyards to Saviours, sending cyber hugs and kisses your way MICKEY MOUSE xox

  • kerri braden
    October 10, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Is there any chance of the scum bags who done this to Micky getting caught, I hope to Christ there is. With a bit of luck Karma will get them when they least expect it and get them good I hope!!!

  • Ashley
    October 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    God Bless his Spirit of perseverance and survival, and Bless the owners for upholding the stewardship of animals on Gods image and expectation. Really hope immediate security systems being installed. This horrible act seems vindictive, and the perpetrator may be motivated to finish what he started. Being that the wound was so severe they may have intended a long painful death, expecting the latter. May they remain protected and safe from all harm.

  • Ashley
    October 10, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    What an horribly viscous act to commit, I hope that his owners are having installing a security system of some sort immediately. Motion activated flood lights at the very least. Ideally keeping him very close to the home. God Bless his spirit of perseverance, and Bless his owner for upholding the definition of stewardship of all Gods animals.

  • Irene Gilchrist
    October 10, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    What a beautiful story of the love this woman gives.

  • Bettina
    October 10, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Beautiful story!! What a grand Aussie horse, can not keep typing as I can not stop crying!!!!

  • maggie
    October 10, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    God Bless Mickey Mouse

  • October 10, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Awww good luck Mickey on your recovery and i hope they find the a@£ that did this!
    God bless Mickey’s owners
    ” you are special angels” for saving him. X

  • Samantha
    October 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    To sue & especially Mickey wishing you a speedy recovery. Hugs to you both.

    To the low life scum that did this to a defenseless animal. Karma will come get you & I hope it’s a painful one to. No animal deserves this no matter what your beliefs on brumbies are

    Sue keep doing what you do these guys deserve a go.
    Pease keep us updated on Micky’s progress

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