A three-month-old foal who broke his pelvis when he got caught in a stallion’s tether and was dragged round a rugby pitch is making a recovery at a rescue centre.

Coloured colt Luis was grazing with two tethered mares and a stallion when they were spooked and bolted, pulling their stakes from the ground.

The little cob got caught in the stallion’s chain and was flung into a tree and a lamppost before the chain finally snapped.

In a twist of fortune, the incident took place in front of a volunteer for the charity Saving Abandoned Fly-grazing Equines (SAFE), who was able to come to his aid quickly.

“A vet was called and we were able to get to him within a few minutes — he was completely unconscious at first,” said a spokesman for SAFE. “We thought he’d have to be put to sleep straight away, but when the vet arrived he lifted his head up as if to say ‘I’m not done yet’.

“He’s a very lucky little foal — being that young his bones are soft, which is probably the only reason he survived without more damage.”

He was taken to the charity’s base near Reading, Berkshire where he was made comfortable under a heat lamp and given some replacement milk. But when the vet called to check him and take bloods the following day, the foal’s condition was found to be serious.

“The enzymes from the muscle damage were causing his internal organs to shut down and he had to be taken to the Scott Dunn’s Clinic straight away and put on a drip,” the spokesman said.

Despite initial fears Luis might not make it, the colt kept on fighting, being supported by maximum dose painkillers to keep him comfortable.

In addition to the muscle damage, vets were concerned that there might be a fracture, but weren’t able to investigate until the swelling improved. Unfortunately further tests showed Luis had indeed broken his pelvis.

“It didn’t show up at first on an x-ray but then a scan revealed the damage,” said the spokesman. “We believe he has a good chance of recovery though — the vets are brilliant and if they had thought there was no hope, we’d have gone on their advice.”

Continued below…



Luis has now returned to the SAFE’s care to continue his rehabilitation, where they report that his painkillers have been reduced and he is eating happily and enjoying being brought fresh-picked grass.

“As long as Luis is able to grow up and live pain free, he will have a future with us,” the spokesman said. “Even if he couldn’t go on to a ridden career, he has been so fantastically accepting of everything that has happened to him that he would make a brilliant companion pony.”

While the charity tried to find Luis’ mum, they were unable to trace her.

“The first night he kept calling for her all the time, which was awful,” the spokesman added. “He’s got other horses around him for company and has started to bond with them now and he’s taking everything in his stride.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday