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Elderly gelding found with horrific wounds caused by his own rug *warning: distressing image*

A horse found with horrific wounds caused by his own rug, left on during extreme heat, had “clearly been in a lot of pain for a long time”.

Sid, a gelding in his 20s, was found in a field in Wiltshire at the start of June, when a member of the public noticed his condition.

Equine rescue charity HorseWorld worked with the RSPCA to remove Sid, who was emaciated, with infected sores across his withers, thought to be caused by a rug left on for “many months”. A mare and a colt also in the field were in better condition, although they had not had routine care such as hoof trimming for “quite some time”.

HorseWorld took in all three horses.

The charity’s equine welfare manager Sarah Hollister said: “The wounds caused by the rug had developed into deep, infected sores. Our main concern was that the infection may have spread into the bone.

“If it has, his prognosis could be poor. The thick winter rug must have been left on for many months, including through the extreme heat we had recently experienced which would have cause Sid immense discomfort.

“With the sores on his withers, every step he took would have caused the rug to move across his open, infected wounds. He’s clearly been in a lot of pain for a long time.”

Warning, upsetting image

Sid is being treated with antibiotics, and his wounds are flushed and treated ever day.

“When the antibiotics course has finished, the vet will re-assess him, and we will hopefully have a clearer picture regarding his long-term prognosis,” Ms Hollister said.

“Despite all he has been through, he is a very kind, gentle soul who is happy to let us help him.”

Sid is in the charity’s hospital isolation unit, where he will stay until he is well enough to join the other horses. HorseWorld is trying to raise funds via its website for the “urgently needed” replacement of the hospital’s rubber matting.

HorseWorld fundraising officer Amy Williams said: “Having comfortable, safe, hygienic flooring, especially for newly rescued, poorly and malnourished horses like Sid who need to rest and recuperate in peace is vital.

“We’ve given him a deep bed over the best of the existing rubber mats as with his open wounds he needs a clean, comfortable surface to lie on.

“Being so thin and weak, he will scrape through the bed trying to get up. The existing rubber matting has to be lifted regularly and thoroughly disinfected both sides as the gaps in the worn flooring allow waste to collect underneath. Without careful management, this would be a hazard for a horse recovering from infections so the grooms have to laboriously lift each one and thoroughly disinfect both sides in order to keep the environment as clean as possible.

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Calls for vital support as pandemic hits hard

As visitor centres remain closed and many vital fundraisers cancelled, charities are continuing to look at alternative methods to raise


“We really need to raise the funds to replace the flooring to help horses like Sid for many years to come. The new flooring will be sealed with no gaps so will be much more suitable for rescued horses with medical problems like this.”

The mare and colt have settled in well, the charity said, and are to be brought up to date with their routine care.

The person thought to be the horses’ owner claimed to have signed the horses over to someone else and denied responsibility for them. As it was not possible to trace that person, the horses were classified as abandoned and their removal was authorised by police.

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