Equine grass sickness survivor completes 300-mile trek

  • A pony who survived acute equine grass sickness (EGS) has completed a 300-mile trek across Scotland.

    Candyfloss, her owner Leanne McDonald, terrier Foxy and stablemate miniature Shetland Tinkerbelle, completed their mammoth journey at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh on 22 June.

    There they met vet Dr Scott Pirie, who had liaised with Leanne about Candyfloss’ condition when the 13hh coloured fell cross cob mare was taken ill with EGS in 2013.

    Also joining the team for the final day of the trek was another EGS survivor, Eva, who had been treated at the veterinary centre.

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    On the penultimate day of their journey, the walkers led a parade of equine survivors and owners whose horses had died from the condition at the Royal Highland Show (21 June).

    Candyfloss also wore a remembrance ribbon and rosette bearing names of horses and ponies that had died.

    Leanne told H&H she wanted to do something that was going to spread awareness about EGS and the money they raised was an “additional bonus”.

    So far, their JustGiving page has more than £3,250 in donations for the Equine Grass Sickness Fund.

    “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the ponies. They have both completed it amazingly well,” said Leanne.

    “I am just in awe of the pair of them to be honest.”

    EGS is fatal in 95% of cases and is most prevalent between April and September, especially in Scotland.

    Candyfloss was diagnosed with acute equine grass sickness in June 2013 and made a full recovery.

    Leanne consulted vets before setting out on the trip and kept the distances to between 10-15 miles a day on the month-long adventure.

    “It was important to me that Candyfloss enjoyed it as much as I did,” she said.

    “Every day was different, every day was a new adventure.

    “We shared the whole experience together – the sunsets, the sunrises and the horrible weather and the sunshine.

    “We saw some amazing parts of Scotland while we were walking and met some amazing people.

    “Everybody has just been so nice and so kind.”

    She added the whole thing was incredible and she “cannot thank everybody enough”.

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