An abandoned foal has bonded with a young racehorse after a difficult start in life.

World Horse Welfare Polaris was found fly-grazing in Croydon, south London, with another foal and a mare in poor condition in January 2016.

Field officer Nick White said he was “shocked” at the condition of the 12hh mare when he found her.

Polaris before

“She had a very thick winter coat but when you felt through this she was just skin and bone underneath,” he said.

“Running my hands over her was just like feeling a skeleton through that hair.

“Her coat was poor, she was suffering from lice and also appeared to have a worm burden, leaving her weak and struggling to survive.”

From left: Polaris, Ian Southcott, Swell Song, Nick White

Despite “extensive enquiries” no owner could be found, so the horses were moved to World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm in Somerset.

Following months of veterinary treatment, the filly was rehomed by the Southcott family in Saxmundham, Suffolk, where she is flourishing.

The way she looks today is absolutely magnificent, I hardly recognised her and she is an absolute credit to the team at Glenda Spooner Farm,” added Nick.

“From rescue to rehabilitation, the next and most vital step in a horse’s future is the role of the rehomer and we couldn’t continue our work without them.”

Racing owner Ian Southcott was looking for a young horse to keep his filly Swell Song company.

Article continues below…

You might also be interested in:

“We saw Polaris and were absolutely taken with her,” said Ian.

“When she arrived, she stepped off the lorry after her long journey and she seemed instantly at home.

“Ever since then she has been part of the family and we love her to bits.

“She sometimes thinks she too is a thoroughbred when you watch her and her companion galloping around the field together.

“We had no idea of the circumstances in which Polaris had been rescued and it is absolutely incredible that she has turned out into this stunning horse that is so content and full of life.”

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