Road to Olympia: ‘I was told she had a very low chance of survival’ — 24-year-old pony survives greedy outburst…

  • A 24-year-old pony who nearly lost her life after breaking into her owner’s feed room and consuming its entire contents has made a comeback and is off to the Olympia International Horse Show in the SSADL finals.

    Shandy — a part bred Exmoor who qualified for the in-hand championship at Royal Three Counties — has been owned by Lucie Holt and her daughter Mollie for six years.

    “Shandy has always enjoyed food,” says Lucie. “But last year she broke through her locked field gate and into the yard feed room. She broke into every feed bin and ate everything, including full bags of veteran mix and high fibre nuggets. She even ate packets of bute and a whole pot of electrolytes.”

    Shandy was quickly tended to by vet Susanna Ballinger who immediately contacted the Royal Veterinary College.

    “As soon as Susanna got to the yard she made Shandy comfortable for transport,” continues Lucie. “On arrival at the RVC I was informed that Shandy was in a critical state. They started tubing her stomach but I was told she had a very low chance of survival. I knew she was in the best place and the next 24 hours would tell.

    “I stayed with her while they removed around 40 buckets of food from her stomach; she was so full it was backing up towards her windpipe and there was no room to get a camera down.

    “I left her with the team and went home for a restless nights. By morning I had a call to tell me Shandy was back to her usual self. All her levels were back to normal and she was kicking the door for more feed.

    “When Susanna told me I may lose her I knew it was not going to be good news, but it wasn’t Shandy’s time to go. She didn’t show any signs of colic and was home the next day.

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    “She was discharged with notes saying work as normal as she needed to lose some extra weight. We were booked to go to the ESUK grassroots championships two days later and the vets said we could go. We went and she came away as reserve veteran champion. The judge told me that we should try for the SSADL finals.

    “In June we went to Three Counties where Mollie and Shandy won both the in-hand and ridden sections and took the in-hand ticket for Olympia.

    “Shandy is our pony of a lifetime and to watch her and my daughter at Olympia has made our dreams come true.”

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