A shire foal has become the first horse in the UK to undergo a radical new procedure to restore her sight.

Vets advised owners Donald and Jane McIntrye from Bristol to put Mary Anne down when she was discovered to be blind shortly after birth. But after carrying out research the couple opted for pioneering cataract surgery, carried out by vet Tim Knott.

“The operation cost about £6,000 — I guess we are big softies,” said Mr McIntrye. “But it was worth it. After the operation she was literally dancing around and jumping for joy. There was no stopping her.

“It was also the first time that she could see her mother and that made her very happy. Mary Anne has settled down really well and we have no regrets about it.”

The surgery, which involved removing Mary Anne’s cataracts and inserting lenses into her eyes, is a recent development in equine care.

Mr Knott explained: “Cataract surgery on animals has been around for a while, but has always been unsuccessful on horses. There are now three vets in the UK doing it, alhtough Mary Anne was one of the first, if not the first, to have it done.”