A foal who was given just a 10% chance of survival after being rescued from Bodmin Moor has made a “miraculous” recovery at Redwings Horse Sanctuary.
Tiny 9hh Arthur was thought to be between six and nine months old when he was one of seven ponies found emaciated on the moor with severe worm burdens.
Overstocking of the land and relentless poor weather meant that the native pony and his six companions would not have survived without intervention.
Shortly after his arrival at the sanctuary in early summer 2016, Arthur took a turn for the worse, requiring emergency care including antibiotics; blood and plasma transfusions to boost his immune system.
He had to be manually lifted day and night by members of the veterinary team, who were by his side 24/7.
Against the odds, Arthur fought his way back to health and was reunited with his companions – named Dozmary, Blisland, Helland, Long Tom, Newell and Temple after points of interest on the moor – six weeks later.
Vet Nicola Berryman, who oversaw Arthur’s care at Redwings’ horse hospital, said: “I called Arthur my ‘miracle pony’ because there were a couple of times when I thought we were going to lose him, but despite being incredibly ill he had this feistiness about him which made me think he could pull through.
“Looking at him and his friends now, you wouldn’t think they were the same of group of ponies we rescued back in June last year.”
She added that although efforts to accustom the previously unhandled ponies to human contact are ongoing, they are improving.
“Some of them now happily enjoy a nice cuddle and a scratch, and will inquisitively trot up to the fence to say hello – especially Arthur,” she said.
“You can’t help but smile when you see them, and Arthur has become the sweetest little pony. He will always have a special place in my heart.”
Redwings has been working to secure the future of the ponies on Bodmin Moor for many years, trying to put in place effective and sustainable changes.
Indiscriminate breeding and owners seeing the moor as a “dumping ground” for unwanted ponies had led to severe overstocking, with not enough grazing available to sustain the herds.
Last September a multi-agency project took place to round up, passport and microchip the ponies on East Moor and formally identify those who had the right to graze.
The scheme led to a significant reduction in the number of ponies on the moor and visibly improved grazing.
Pumphill Fandango was "underweight, neglected and miserable” when…
Laddy was popular with staff and visitors alike
While the rescue of Arthur and his companions was one of three welfare operations to take place on the moor in 2016, the improvements meant there were no welfare cases on over the winter of 2016/17.
Redwings’ work is completely funded by public donations and anyone wanting to support the charity can text “HORS30 £5” to 70070, call 01508 481000 or visit the charity’s website.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.