Horse savagely beaten and abandoned with broken bones recovers to help vulnerable young people

  • A horse who was starved, savagely beaten and left lying in the road with broken bones has gone on to a better life helping vulnerable young people.

    Twiglet’s life “hung in the balance” after he was found, collapsed and emaciated, on an industrial estate in Bristol six years ago.

    “Twiglet had been through a horrific ordeal.” Sarah Hollister, yard manager for charity HorseWorld.

    “He had collapsed in the road. He was weak and painfully thin, and had fractures in his back and neck, which we discovered on return to HorseWorld when our vets examined him. He was emotionally shut down; there was no life in his dull, sunken eyes.”

    B&W Equine vet Carys Chadwick said Twiglet’s injuries were “consistent with a blunt trauma”.

    “My guess is that this horse has been severely beaten over the back and neck with something heavy, for example a metal bar,” she said at the time. “He is also dangerously underweight and covered in sores.”

    Twiglet was treated but a few months later, his foreleg started to buckle forward at the fetlock. Vets said the youngster’s growth rate had accelerated as he was being given the appropriate feed, following his malnutrition, but his tendons were growing at different rates.

    Twiglet underwent corrective surgery and had to wear a cast for some weeks.

    “Despite his heartbreaking condition on arrival at HorseWorld, Twiglet has made a remarkable recovery and is now a fully trained equine assisted learning pony working with children who are outside mainstream schooling or struggling to learn in a classroom environment,” a spokesman for the charity said.

    “Young people are referred to HorseWorld’s Discovery courses with a wide range of complex and challenging social, emotional and mental health needs. The six-week course they take part in alongside the rescued horses is a chance to learn vital life skills outside of the classroom setting in a positive and encouraging environment.

    “Horses like Twiglet who have overcome a trauma in their life and have gone on to be happy, healthy and successful can be an inspiration to those who are struggling to overcome their own difficulties in life. It is common for the young people to form strong bonds with them.”

    Discovery course facilitator Louise Hewett said Twiglet has been excelling in his role.

    “ He’s settled in well to the herd and really seems to enjoy his new routine,” she said.

    “As he is still quite new to his role, he spent the first few weeks meeting students but not working directly with them.

    “He has now started working with some of the more experienced students and has taken to it like a duck to water. He has a sweet nature and is proving very popular with the young people.

    “In the future, we hope that Twiglet will become a core member of the Discovery herd, working with both groups and individuals, doing all Discovery activities. He will sadly never be ridden due to the trauma to his back and neck he experienced before his rescue but loves the attention he receives, often falling asleep when being groomed.”

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