A polo pony has made a remarkable recovery after suffering a 10-inch gash to her head.

Grooms working for owner Thom Bell discovered Sorpresa, a 4-year-old mare, on 13 January with a huge flap of skin hanging from her forehead, exposing her skull.

*Warning graphic photos*: view the injury before and during treatment

Thom, who runs Kinross Polo Club, told H&H that Sorpresa was in season.

“She was clowning around with a gelding next door and caught her head on the gate,” he said.

Jenny Croft, of Loch Leven Equine Vets, spent 2½hr treating the injury — aided by veterinary nurses Lynsey McKay and Siobhan Carfray.

“I didn’t realise the severity until I saw it — it looked very dramatic,” she said. “It couldn’t be fixed in the stable yard so she was brought into the clinic where we put her under standing sedation.

“As with all horses who have suffered head injuries, she had become very head-shy.

“We cleaned up and debrided the wound, [removing the debris and dead tissue], before stitching her up.”

The gash required 28 staples and 14 stitches. Sorpresa stayed at the clinic for 5 days, with Penrose drains inserted to encourage fluid building up under the wound to drain.

“It was actually quite superficial, and looked worse than it was,” said Jenny, who removed the sutures a fortnight later. “However, it has healed phenomenally well and she’s now A1 perfect.”

Thom said Sorpresa was back in training a week after returning home.

“She has loved the attention,” he said. “It looked horrific but — like all these things — if you react quickly and get it cleaned and stitched quickly, a good and quick recovery can be expected.

“The vets at Loch Leven are the best in Scotland and we work with them a lot.”