An appeal has been launched to find a home for a rescue mare who was found alone and “left for dead” six years ago.
Hope, who is 14hh and thought to be a part-bred thoroughbred, has been in the care of the RSPCA for most of her life after she was found abandoned at six months old, collapsed and too weak to stand, in March 2014.
A spokesman for the charity said vets gave Hope a body score of one out of five, the “worst possible condition”.
“Poor Hope was just hours from death and her mother was nowhere to be seen – she was emaciated, dehydrated, covered in lice, full of worms and with dried diarrhoea covering her hind legs,” said the spokesman.
“After being taken to a specialist veterinary hospital Hope was given urgent treatment and slowly started to make a recovery although for several days vets were concerned that her prognosis was not good.”
Hope became strong enough to leave the hospital and was taken to an RSPCA boarding yard before being moved to the charity’s Southridge animal centre in Potters Bar in May 2014.
A spokesman for the charity said staff are “puzzled” as to why Hope has not yet been adopted – despite the fact she has featured on the charity’s “find a pet” website for almost two years.
RSPCA Southridge animal centre manager Anna White said: “When Hope arrived at our centre, she still had a way to go to put on more condition and weight, but she was doing well and we felt sure she would be snapped up quickly by someone. Sadly for her, almost five years later she is still here waiting.
“During her time here Hope has become a firm favourite with our staff and our visitors, and right from the start when she was just a tiny, scruffy little youngster, she formed a really strong bond with a chubby little rescue pony named Francie. There’s no doubt it’s down to Francie that Hope came out of her shell.
“She took her under her wing, showed her there was nothing to be fearful of and helped Hope become the wonderful horse she is. At around 40 years old Francie became a mother to Hope, it was a wonderful sight to see Hope skipping around Francie in our paddocks.”
Ms White said Hope has had a few health issues, which she has overcome, and she is not a “sickly” horse, but has been unlucky.
“Our lovely girl Hope isn’t going to be a big-time show pony, but she is the friendliest, most grateful horse we’ve known with a unique character and zest for life. If you’re looking for a project horse you can bond with, teach new things and really enjoy watching flourish, Hope really is the girl for you,” she said.
“She’ll give you back tenfold what you put in so we really would love to hear from anyone who thinks they can offer Hope her forever home. We love her here but she really deserves her chance to be loved by someone special, and not live her whole life in a rescue centre.”
Staff at the charity believe Hope developed “ballerina syndrome”, also known as contracted tendons. It is thought she developed the condition, which has been carefully treated with remedial shoeing, from a poor diet at the beginning of her life. The staff say no one would know it had ever affected her, but that if being ridden is not possible, she has “so much to offer” as a companion.
As the Mare and Foal Sanctuary makes an urgent appeal for homes, and rescue centres across the UK are bursting
The rehomers of a tiny pony found in a terrible condition have
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“Hope loves attention and being groomed so we’re sure that if she’s not able to do ridden work she would thrive at in-hand work like agility,” said Ms White.
“We would like nothing more than to see Hope be adopted by someone who will really love and appreciate her, especially as she’s gone through a lot of tough times.”
Anyone wishing to find out more about Hope can contact Ms White at RSPCA Southridge on 0300 123 0704.
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