A horse named Cody, who received serious burns after getting caught up in the devastating wildfires near Knysna, South Africa, has survived a mammoth journey of 16 days back to his home farm.
Passers-by found Cody walking with serious injuries along the N2 road, but he was walking with purpose – heading back to his owner Karen Rademeyer.
Amid the fires on June 7, Cody, along with four other ponies belonging to Rademeyer, were chased into a nearby plantation because they couldn’t be captured at the time.
The plantation was not initially on fire, but the wind reportedly changed direction and the plantation burnt for four days – trapping the horses.
All the other horses on Rademeyer’s farm were caught and led to safety.
However Rademeyer didn’t give up on her lost horses, and on a daily basis she used thermal imaging, aircraft and drones to attempt to locate the animals.
And she got a stroke of luck on Friday morning, when someone saw Cody walking along the N2.
“People were crying when they noticed the condition he was in when they saw him about 100 metres from the farm,” Rademeyer told Netwerk 24.
“My phone started ringing and people were leaving messages when they noticed him. He was very thin and it also seemed as if he had lost his vision, but that didn’t deter him from walking to his spot on the farm. We walked him to a safe place. He was very hungry and parched. He was really in a shocking condition.
“It was very emotional to see him like this, but I just realised how determined he had been. We decided to administer treatment and help where we could. He is doing surprisingly well. The vet is very happy with his progress.”
The other four horses – Cheeky, Bella, Milu and Déjà Vu – are still missing.
By Oliver Jarvis