A mare found emaciated and in labour by the side of the road has fought her way back to health and found a permanent home.

Two-year-old Hope was so malnourished she was unable to give birth so the member of the public who found her, in Petworth, West Sussex, in April 2016, had to help deliver the filly.

The mare was too weak to produce milk, so her foal Puddle had to be partly hand-reared and suffered acute kidney failure. Both needed four weeks of intensive treatment at Liphook Equine Hospital before they had recovered enough to move go to the RSPCA’s Lockwood centre.

RSPCA groom Alice Robinson said: “We don’t know how poor Hope came to be in that horrible situation. Chances are she was abandoned by someone who maybe couldn’t afford to keep her, or didn’t want her any more. She was in a terrible condition and had clearly been neglected for a long time.

“It was apparent [when the mare and foal arrived] that Hope had no trust in people and was very nervous at the sight of anyone near her. Her foal was the opposite, she was more than happy with people being around her because she had partly been hand-fed.

“It took a long time for Hope to realise we weren’t going to do anything nasty, and we were just there to feed her and look after her. After six months, we were able to work with her. Once Puddle was weaned we were able to get near Hope, who was still very timid, and slowly but surely gain her trust.

“It was so lovely to see her personality show more and more each day until she was able to relax without being fearful. Over time she underwent an amazing transformation from this frightened, weak little pony to a sweet and loving girl who was ready for her forever home.”

Hope left the centre this July, when a rehomer who had travelled from Norfolk to rehome a donkey called Buttons heard Hope’s story and decided to take her too.

She said: “It broke my heart to think what she has been through but at least she’s safe now.

“She was very shy but now she’s a love. I’m really happy I took her.



“I don’t ride my horses or show them, I just keep them for the love of what they are. I do it for the love of animals and as long as they’re happy, I’m happy.”

Middleweight cob yearling Puddle, who is described as “affectionate and cheeky”, is still at RSPCA Lockwood and looking for a home.

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