A filly who was found “terrified, starving and alone”, suffering from multiple serious health issues, has proved her strength by recovering – and “learning to be a horse again”.
Ava, who hit national headlines when she was found on Dartmoor last summer after her mother died, was suffering from pneumonia and struggling to breathe when she arrived at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary.
Despite the 24-hour care provided at the sanctuary’s veterinary centre, as well as the giant teddy given to her for comfort, Ava’s condition was deteriorating.
“Then slowly, little by little, she got stronger, thanks to the hard work and dedication of her grooms and, after nine weeks, she was finally well enough to leave isolation,” said a sanctuary spokesman, adding that staff feared her lack of contact with other equines could affect her personality and cause behavioural problems.
“But Ava has proved stronger than the sanctuary ever imagined; adopting her own mini herd of young fillies and spending the last few months learning how to be a horse again,” the spokesman said.
Ava’s groom Charley Daines said the filly is growing fast and gaining weight, adding: “She’s still very young so we’re just letting her find her way in the herd. It’s great to see her galloping round with ponies of a similar age.
“Every day she spends with her friends Bambola, Ilyssa, Ida and Moonflower. They share a crew barn together and spend their days playing in the fields and a lot of time sleeping. It’s exhausting having fun!”
Ava is now used to being handled and led to and from her field.
‘She still has a way to go with her recovery but here's hoping that she is a fighter and she
The youngster is believed to be the first miniature Shetland-donkey cross
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The sanctuary’s fundraising director thanked supporters “from the bottom of our hearts” for allowing the sanctuary’s work to continue, while director of equine Syra Bowden said: “The future is looking bright for Ava and eventually she’ll be ready to find a new and loving home.
“She definitely had us worried there for a while but she’s a little fighter. Watching a foal like Ava beat all the odds is why we do this job.”
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