Seven year-old's pet horse still missing after floods

Emillee Cornell's beloved horse Harnsy was last seen struggling in floodwaters on Thursday, March 30.
Emillee Cornell's beloved horse Harnsy was last seen struggling in floodwaters on Thursday, March 30. Contributed

A KEERONG family is appealing for public assistance to find their daughter's beloved horse which went missing in the March 31 flood.

Mum Mel Cornell said her daughter Emillee was surprise gifted the 13-year-old golden palomino Haflinger, named Harnsy, for Christmas.

"She though she was getting a rabbit for Christmas, all the way up to Christmas morning," Ms Cornell said.

"She was just absolutely shocked that she got a horse. She used to sit in the paddock and sing to him. He'd do tricks for her (like) pick up the bucket and kick it with his foot."


Have you seen Emillee's beloved mate Harnsy the horse?
Have you seen Emillee's beloved mate Harnsy the horse? Contributed

On the Thursday night of the floods the family escaped their inundated property aboard a tractor and a canoe, but sadly they had no choice but to leave their four horses behind to fend for themselves.

Harnsy is the only one of the four still missing.



"We had the horses up on high ground ... the round yard is the highest point and it (water) never reaches there. The worst its ever got out here in 30 years is probably up to the horses' knees," Ms Cornell said.

"Ian (Gaillard) evacuated all of us by tractor... We had all our dogs in a canoe.

"The water by that stage was above the tyres on the tractor.

"When we were coming out the water was coming through so fast the tractor was sliding sideways.

"We got out on to the road and we went up on to the high ground. By that stage the horses were inundated by water. (So) instead of leaving them in the round yard with the fear they would just drown ... (we went back) and let them out.

"By letting them out they could at least find the high ground to keep them safe.


This photo was taken on the afternoon of March 30, as the Keerong valley disappears under floodwaters. The Cornell's home is in the distance, on the far left.
This photo was taken on the afternoon of March 30, as the Keerong valley disappears under floodwaters. The Cornell's home is in the distance, on the far left. Contributed

"Unfortunately because of the force of the water they did a turn and headed back towards the paddock, and as they did that they got pushed into the main stream of the water ... they lost their footing and were swept away.

"From where we were we were only about 1km away and watched one of the horses being pushed downstream and could do nothing.

"I would never want to see that again."

Fortunately they found two horses the next day "pretty torn up" but walking and still alive about 1km from the house. The third was found some time later.

Only Harnsy remains missing.

"We've done searching, fliers, Facebook - nothing. We've got nothing on him," Ms Cornell said.

"We haven't lost hope yet.

"We still have reasonable positivity he's in someone's paddock and just hasn't been sighted.

"He's a fully registered horse with the Australian Haflinger association. He's microchipped."

The family is urging anyone who has sighted the horse to phone Ms Cornell on 0428879474.

Topics:  australian hafflinger association keerong missing horse harnsy northern rivers flood

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