Dam of foal who died after sandwiches found in her field lost to colic days later

  • The dam of a months-old filly who died after sandwiches and dried pasta were found in her field suffered a fatal bout of colic thought to be caused by the stress of losing her foal.

    Natalie Morris lost her 12-year-old mare Lady on 9 February, 10 days after her foal Chicco had had to be put down.

    Natalie told H&H she had a call from the owner of the field she rents in Pembrokeshire on 29 January, to say Chicco was lying down and shaking.

    “Straight away, I knew she’d been fed something she shouldn’t have been,” she said.

    “I phoned the vet straight away and went to the field, and when I got there, she whinnied just like she usually did but she was trying to get up and couldn’t.

    “The vet came and said she was completely blocked. I didn’t want to give up on her but they couldn’t have saved her. I just cuddled her and she went off; she died nibbling at my fingers.”

    Natalie said Lady was depressed after Chicco died, and reluctant to eat. Natalie had bought more palatable feed and the mare had started eating again, but then yesterday morning, she got a call to say Lady was down.

    “We were trying to get her up but there was no fight left in her,” she said. “I’d phoned the vet before I left the house, and they said it was colic, probably brought on by the stress of losing her foal.

    “She had started eating a bit more and I thought she’d come right, but she never did.”

    Natalie said she and the vet spent two hours trying to save Lady, “but her eyes were gone”.

    “My other horse Nico was standing there; he put his nose next to hers and they were nickering,” she said. “It was as if they were saying goodbye.

    “I held Lady and told her it was all right, as she took her last breath.”

    Natalie said there was a large amount of cling film near the place Chicco was found. She has also picked up dried pasta, sandwiches, potatoes and vegetable waste. The field is next to a pathway, on which the volume of walkers has increased since the start of the pandemic.

    “I stopped one person, who said he came to feed the horses every day and the horses liked it,” she said. “He said the owner was fine with it and I said ‘They’re my horses’. He ummed and ahhed and said he thought it was fine. It’s just ignorance.”

    Natalie’s story as been shared widely on social media, and was reported by BBC Wales, which she hopes might help educate the public.

    “People seem to think they’re animals and they can just do what they want ,” she said. “I’ve made laminated pictures of Chicco dead in the field, saying ‘This is what you’ve caused; you did this. Stop feeding other people’s horses’. I’ve put them on all the gates.”

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    Natalie now wants to find another field for Nico, and she faces huge bills, for the veterinary treatment and the costs of cremating her mare and foal, for which she has set up a fundraising page.

    “I called Chicco that because she was so cheeky; such a friendly little thing,” she said. “Now, because of some idiot, she won’t grow up.

    “I just hope this might stop someone, and if even one other person doesn’t lose their horse some good will have come of it – but it shouldn’t need to be talked about, it should be common sense.”

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