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A pony found dumped with “horrific” leg injuries has found a new home a year after her rescue.

Two-year-old Elsa was abandoned on a remote lane in Tyne and Wear on 15 January last year, suffering with wounds on her back legs that were so deep her muscle was exposed. 

She was discovered by a member of public who contacted the RSPCA and took the pony to her own stables to keep her safe.

Inspector Jacqui Miller arrived and called a vet as Elsa was “suffering with the worst injuries I’d ever seen on a horse”.

The wounds to the back of Elsa’s legs were infected and bleeding, causing her “excruciating” pain.

Click here to view the wound when she was rescued and here to see it two weeks into recovery (Warning: very graphic images).

Elsa, who was named after the Disney princess because of the frozen weather at the time, was given painkillers and examined by the vet, who discovered that the wounds were not fresh. The damaged skin was rotten and badly infected.

It is not known how Elsa suffered her injuries but the vet predicted that her wounds were at least three days old.

Thanks to round-the-clock care by staff at the vets and the RSPCA Felledge, a specialist equine centre in County Durham, Elsa’s wounds started to heal.

Once she began to go out in the paddock, staff noticed she was also lame and X-rays revealed she was suffering from laminitis.

Elsa received several months of treatment and remedial shoeing and has bounced back to full health.

Rescue pony of the year

Last summer Elsa was crowned rescue pony of the year at Equifest (20 August).

Elsa was awarded the title in an emotional class which left audience members and judges in tears.

“We just couldn’t be prouder of Elsa, the whole show was emotional for us, but to hear Elsa’s name announced in the main arena at Equifest, as the rescue pony of the year, was just wonderful,” said the RSPCA’S Lisa Paulin, who handled Elsa in the class.

“Elsa’s road to recovery has been long and tough, but the team and I can’t put into words how proud we are to show the world just how far she’s come.”

Now Elsa has found a foster home with Katharine in Tyne and Wear.

“To see Elsa now, you would never believe she went through such an ordeal, she is a happy little thing, and her legs have healed so well you’d never tell she suffered so much,” said Katharine, who also has two horses called Chico and Honey.

“The team at RSPCA Felledge have done a wonderful job with her.

“Elsa settled into my yard so quickly, and she’s so cheeky, she’s really livened up the place. I was looking for a companion for my sprightly 24-year-old horse Chico, as my Exmoor mare Honey who’s 23 prefers to take life in the slow lane. Elsa has been ideal, she’s just a calm little pony and takes everything in her stride.

“She’ll be a little small for me to ride so I hope to have her here with us until she’s ready to be backed in a year or two, and then I know she will go on to make somebody somewhere a really super little riding pony. For now, she’s happy enough pottering about being cheeky. She’s into everything, her favourite thing is to follow me into the feed room, I’m always shooing her out”

The team at RSPCA Felledge are delighted Elsa has settled in.

“We couldn’t be happier that Elsa has settled in so well with Katharine and her horses,” said yard manager, Lisa Paulin.

“When she was first rushed here this time last year, suffering so much from her wounds, we really couldn’t have imagined her story would have such a happy ending.

“Elsa is one of many, many ponies cruelly abandoned in this country and her story is a prime example that even with the most terrible of injuries, animals can be determined to bounce back against all odds.”