A mare given just a 25% chance of survival a year ago, following the discovery of a massive tumour in her neck, has made an extraordinary recovery. She was placed in a showjumping class at Hickstead last week.

Wealden Silvanite endured 2 operations and 8 weeks of chemotherapy last summer to get rid of the malignant melanoma, which weighed more than 2kg.

The mare was left with a gaping wound after surgery

The mare was left with a gaping wound after surgery

The 6-year-old Irish sport horse delighted her owner, Michaela Francis, by jumping a double clear in the 1.05m at the Royal International on 4 August.

It feels like a miracle,” said Michaela, from West Sussex.

“I was devastated when the vet gave her a 25% chance of just making it out of surgery and lots of people said we should have her put to sleep. But we thought as she was only 5 and it was worth giving her a chance,” she added.

“Silvia” went lame and developed a lump on her neck in June 2012. The removal of the aggressive tumour left the mare with a gaping hole in her neck. She had to spend 8 months on box-rest, due to the risk of infection, with her dressings changed daily.

Her owner adapted a hood to help to keep the wound clean

Her owner, Michaela Francis, adapted a hood to help to keep the wound clean

Since coming back into work, Silvia has jumped double clears every time out and Michaela hopes to qualify for the 1.20m amateur final at Horse of the Year Show next year.

Vet Suzanne Duncan of Arundel Equine Hospital, who treated Silvia, said the outcome was “very gratifying”.

She added: “With melanomas, there is always the caveat that it might come back — but the further we get down the line, the less likely that is to happen.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (15 August 2013)