Heartbroken owner’s rug warning after newborn filly’s death

  • The devastated owner of a newborn filly who died tangled in the surcingles of her dam’s rug wants to raise awareness of the dangers of rugging pregnant mares.

    Amberley Jane Baker wanted to ensure her part-bred Welsh mare Lottie (pictured) was comfortable in her stable on Monday night (2 April), as she had been turned out in the rain and was wet, cold and tucked up.

    She put a rug on but removed the rear straps and tightened the surcingles as much as possible while ensuring Lottie was not uncomfortable, then checked her continually on CCTV until the early hours of the morning to ensure there were no signs of a foal’s arrival.

    “When I woke up, I saw legs on the CCTV and rushed out to the stable, really excited – and found the foal hanging from the belly straps,” Amberley told H&H.

    “I tried my best to revive her but it was no use, there was no life in her. It was absolutely horrible.”

    Amberley explained she only found out Lottie was in foal a month ago when she started bagging up, and can only think that her now two-year-old colt, who has a talent for escaping despite Amberley’s best efforts, had somehow impregnated her.

    She posted about her experience on social media to warn other owners, but says she has since been the victim of online abuse.

    “I’m absolutely devastated and don’t need to be told I’m stupid or shouldn’t have horses,” she said.

    “Lottie’s been rugged up all winter – we’re in west Wales and it’s been so cold, she’s had heavy rugs on – and she was so cold that night, I was just trying to make sure my mare was comfortable.

    “And of course we didn’t know when she was due; I’d had CCTV installed especially so I could check her. I’ve heard stories of foals getting stuck in rear straps so I’d taken that off but this was different.

    “The afterbirth was out and the foal looked clean so she didn’t get stuck while Lottie was giving birth. I think the foal must have gone to drink and maybe the mare tried to kick or something as she’s been sore and that’s how she got tangled. But I can’t bear to watch the CCTV video to find out.

    Continues below…

    “I just wanted to raise awareness but I’ve had so much hate. I want people to understand to never put a rug on a pregnant mare, regardless.

    “I’ve got to live with this for the rest of my life so I don’t need any more hate from people, it’s been heartbreaking.”

    Amberley is now urging anyone with a foal who needs a foster mother to get in touch, adding that she would be happy for Lottie to move yards if necessary. Call 01252 555021 or email eleanor.m.jones@timeinc.com.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

    You may like...