An orphaned Welsh mountain pony who was born weighing just 14kg is thriving after her tricky start and bringing joy to many in the face of a difficult year.
Buttons, now eight weeks old, is getting stronger each day in the care of the Vigors family at Hillwood Stud, and her antics have won her many fans.
Tracy, who has years of experience in breeding and caring for thoroughbred youngstock, was called by her vet Jess Dicks of Baker McVeigh on the August bank holiday Monday.
Jess had gone to help experienced breeder and horseman Ron Thomas, who owns a herd of Welsh ponies, with the tricky foaling of one of his mares.
“I went to give them a quick hand and the mare had already foaled by the time I got there,” Tracy told H&H. “The mare didn’t have any colostrum, so we brought some down and some plasma. Sadly the mare had a uterine tear and had to be put down.
“Buttons was the littlest thing of all creatures great and small and weighed just 14kg. Welshies are really hardy, so the herd live out all the time, but obviously she was going to need intensive 24-hour care.”
Buttons was quite ill, so Tracy offered to take her home, where they have foaling boxes with 24-hour CCTV and could give her the specialist care to “help get her going”.
“She is a superstar and such a little trier — we gave her a good volume of colostrum and plasma, which kick-started her, and she has just really tried. Welshies are so tough, and she’s such a bonnie little person,” she said.
“We tried so hard to find a foster mare and there are so many lovely people in this world who got in touch and offered us help. Buttons didn’t even come up to my knee, so we couldn’t find anything at the time that was suitable.”
Tracy added at first Buttons would not drink much, but she had hope as the foal was drinking often and the amount gradually increased.
“Then she fell in love with Pooh Bear, which is lovely as she has some comfort from him,” she said. “She is not a lonely or depressed foal, which I was worried about, and the great thing living where we do on the farm is she’s always out and about with us. I really would love for her to have a little companion, so I’m on the lookout for a friend for her and am keeping an eye on the rehoming centres.”
Buttons, also known as “Baby B” or “ButtButt” to her friends, now weighs 29kg and is showing oodles of character. She has developed quite a following as Tracy shares pictures and videos on her Twitter page of Buttons’ busy life playing, snoozing with Pooh Bear, making equine and human friends, cruising round the farm, chatting to owners and helping out around the house and yard.
“She’s so good for the soul — and she’s so easy, we’ve now got her on a bucket with a teat, which means she can have her last feed from us at 11pm and the bucket keeps her going all through to 5am,” said Tracy.
“The dogs think she’s another one of them and the kids love her. I’ve had so many messages from people from all walks of life saying she’s made their day, or really picked them up or given them a purpose to their day, which is lovely especially with everything that’s happening at the moment. That’s why I share so many photos and videos of her.
“Buttons has now become a permanent resident here and we hope she’s going to be with us for a long time to come.”
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