Foal found upside-down on rubble pile recovers to support fellow rescued youngster

  • The life of a pony who was found upside-down on a pile of rubble has been “transformed” – as has that of another young pony he has helped on his own road to recovery.

    Redwings is marking a year since months-old Barney was found, partially covered by an old mattress, emaciated and covered in pressure sores.

    Barney spent the early part of this year at Redwings’ quarantine facility, where he was treated for his wounds and fed and cared for carefully so he could gain weight safely. He then moved to the charity’s Hapton headquarters in Norfolk, where he has recently become a “crucial companion” to another youngster, Mason, who was rescued this year.

    Barney when he was found

    “Mason, a Welsh cross, was one of three ponies who came to Redwings in February, after a joint rescue operation on Gelligaer common in South Wales with RSPCA Cymru, Caerphilly County Borough Council and World Horse Welfare,” a Redwings spokesman said. “He was an orphan foal, thought to be around three months old, and without his mother he was struggling for survival and was severely emaciated.

    “On arrival at the sanctuary [pictured, top], Mason was so weak he had to be helped off the horsebox by the Redwings team and placed on round-the-clock care. He was subdued and although he was eating, he took very little interest in his surroundings. Test results showed the level of protein in Mason’s blood was extremely low.”

    Redwings vet Dawn Trayhorn said Mason was “effectively a feral pony”.

    “But he did not show any fear when I examined him or even when we took those first blood samples,” she said.” He’d never been handled but he was too weak to show that he was frightened of us.”

    Tests showed Mason had a significant worm burden, and his intestinal wall was damaged. He needed lifesaving plasma transfusions, antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection of his intestine, wormers, anti-inflammatories and steroids.

    “There were so many things going against Mason from the day he was found and rescued but as he had barely survived, we were desperate to make sure he wasn’t going to just fade away,” said Dawn.

    Mason gradually recovered, and Redwings staff wanted to find him a suitable friend so he could “have the chance to live like a normal young pony”.

    Barney and Mason

    “Fellow youngster Barney was a clear fit, and after a careful integration Barney and Mason are now happily living together, playing and interacting as young ponies should,” the spokesman said.

    Redwings welfare vet Nicola Berryman, who cared for Barney when he first arrived, added: “Twelve months after we were all so shocked by the discovery of Barney, who was found discarded like rubbish on a pile of rubble, it is heartwarming to see him flourishing so much that he is even lending a helping hoof to a fellow rescued youngster.

    “Mason’s future on the common was very uncertain, and it is likely that without being rescued he would have died. Instead, this Christmas both ponies have a safe and secure future at Redwings, and each other for company! None of this would be possible with the kindness of our supporters, whose donations truly save lives – all year round.”

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