Family devastated after death of much-loved and well-known horse

Harvey the cob

Harvey the horse was well-known in the Yarmouth area. - Credit: Emily Johns

A family has shared its sadness after the death of a horse which brought cheer to Great Yarmouth during lockdown.

Harvey the cob became a common sight across the borough as his owners from Cobholm took him out on a series of Harvey's Rainbow Tour visits last year following countless requests.

But after surgery for colic last week, Harvey, who was eight years old, was put down when further tests showed he was suffering from grass sickness, a frequently fatal disease.


Harvey with Emily Johns - Credit: Emily Johns

Emily Johns, 19, speaking on behalf of the family, said: "He made it through the operation. It was technically a success. However, with more blood tests and a biopsy of his intestines, it turned out he had grass sickness."

The illness was caused by toxins in the grass he was eating which had come from bird droppings, she said.

"The vets did everything they could. If they'd known it was grass sickness they wouldn't have even recommended surgery, but the signs and symptoms are the same as with colic," Ms Johns said.

Harvey was put to sleep on Friday afternoon (September 17) and will now be cremated.

His death compounded what has already been a difficult year for the family.

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Another horse, Pepper, died in April, and the family's dog, Rosie, a black Labrador, died in June.

"It's been horrendous for us," Ms Johns said.

Harvey was with the family since he was two-years-old. They bought him for £75 from a man off the A47.


Harvey with one of his owners Sophie - Credit: Emily Johns

"He was part of the family. He was everything, one in a million. We'll never find a horse like him again."

Before his rainbow tours, Harvey was already well known for appearing at proms, going on pub drives and school runs and taking people out on rides in his cart.


Harvey gets in the mood at a previous Out There Festival - Credit: Emily Johns

During a previous year's Out There Festival, he was dressed up as a unicorn.

"We're still trying to process the fact that he's gone. He was only eight years old, not very old at all," Ms Johns said.


Fares please! Harvey waits at a bus stop on one of his journeys around the borough - Credit: Emily Johns

She also said the family are still struggling to pay for the vet bill and until the debt is settled they cannot retrieve Harvey's ashes.

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