A MORETON riding school is urging people to think before setting off fireworks after a beloved pony suffered serious injuries and had to be put to sleep.

West Wirral Riding School's assistant yard manager Steph Smith, from Moreton, revealed that 12-year-old pony Alfie had broken his leg after becoming startled by fireworks on New Year's Eve.

After assessing his injuries, the heartbreaking decision was made to put him to sleep on New Year's Day.

Steph told the Globe: "It was in the early hours of New Year's Day that we noticed something was wrong with Alfie.

"He was stood non-weightbearing on one leg and it was obvious that he had injured himself.

"We had to make a sling out of sacks and used a tractor to carry him back to the stables.

"On his way he was shouting out to his friends and they shouted back as if he was saying goodbye.

"At this time there was a vet on site and we decided the best thing to do would be to put him down."

Rescued by Steph's aunt, Alfie was given a new lease of life with West Wirral Riding School.

Posting a tribute to Alfie, West Wirral Riding School wrote on Facebook: "What a sad start to 2019.

"It is with sad hearts we share that Alfie has been put to sleep.

"This morning Alfie was discovered injured in the field, a broken leg believed to be caused by the fireworks, he was brought home and sadly put to sleep.

"Alfie didn't have the best start in life - Steph's auntie rescued him and gave him to Steph to break and get going. He was so well behaved, we knew school life would suit him and he would enjoy teaching young children to ride. And that he did! "Not always the most straight forward to ride and definitely had a cheeky side. But that's what made us love him so much!

"He will certainly be missed by staff and riders.

"RIP Alfie, you awesome little pony!"

In another tribute, they said: "It was heartbreaking to see poor Alfie in pain and helpless. We made a sling and gently lifted and brought him back to the yard.

"The other horses all came to say goodbye to their friend. He whinnied several times to them as we carried him home on his final journey.

"It was so hard to say goodbye to such a beautiful pony. He is at peace now."

The centre, based in Moreton, is now wanting to raise awareness of how dangerous fireworks are and the effect that they can have on livestock and horses.

Steph continued: "Residents who live nearby had been in touch with us since and said that the fireworks on New Year's Eve were actually worse than on Bonfire Night.

"We keep finding plenty of empty fireworks around the site.

"We think the noise had spooked the animals and Alfie had ran away to escape it and in doing so had injured himself.

"Now we just want people, who live around horses and livestock, to be aware when lighting fireworks and have regards for owners.

"This is about raising awareness and we want to put an end to this issue."