A horse is making “steady progress” after being found chained to railings last month.

The emaciated coloured mare was found too weak to stand on an Essex hillside on 14 April.

However, the RSPCA said Lara is recovering well after being rescued by the charity.

The yearling weighed just 161kg when she was found — under half her body weight.

Vets had to build her up slowly as she was in such poor condition but she managed to gain 6.5kgs in the first three weeks at Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic in Halstead.

“I was utterly shocked when I saw Lara,” said RSPCA inspector Sam Garvey.

EQRPR Starved horse found by side of road-4“She was so thin that she was more or less a complete bag of bones. She was just crouched there on that hillside, terrified and trembling, chained to a piece of scrubland with no food or water.”

Sam said Lara is showing improvement every day and has “no serious” problems.

Her feet were overgrown and deformed from lack of care but she is now coping without bandaged pads.

Lara still lies down after eating but is improving with the help of medication and dedicated nurses and grooms.

“Lara has good days when she whinnies a greeting and looks really bright but she has days where she struggles and is a little down and quiet,” said Carolyn Wise, a vet from Catley Cross.

“She has to stay in her stable and is taken out to grass by her grooms as her feet are too sore to be turned out in a field.”

She was found just 40miles from where Gizmo the foal was found in February.

He is also being treated at Catley Cross.

“I thought I had seen the worst when Gizmo came to us in February. But now I have seen Lara, and I’m not so sure anymore,” added Carolyn.

“Unfortunately when young horses like Lara are neglected this badly they take so much care and time to get well again. We can’t wait for Lara to be well enough so she can be turned out in a field with Gizmo.

“We named her Lara after Lara Croft ­because it was such a mission to find her on that dark hillside. Hopefully we can continue that mission to nurse her back to health.

“What would be lovely is if she and Gizmo could help each other recover and grow strong together, and become good friends.”

Anyone with any information about how Gizmo and Lara came to be dumped should call 0300 123 8018.