A tiny filly thought to have been thrown over a fence to die at less than a day old has been brought back from the dead to a hopeful future.
The hours-old cremello foal was found in the scorching heat of Saturday afternoon (30 June) at a livery yard in Kent.
Hollie Leatham, who found her when she went into the field to bring her own horse in, alerted Kate Morris who runs Little Sweep’s Fund, which was set up to help dumped equines.
The filly, named Honey by Hollie’s daughter, was taken to Bell Equine veterinary clinic, where she was found to be severely dehydrated and suffering from sepsis. She had had no colostrum and vets suspect she had never nursed.
Honey learned to drink milk from a bucket almost straight away but her battle was only just starting.
“We began life-saving treatments to give her the best chance of survival but despite this at around 8pm on Saturday night, Honey crashed and stopped breathing,” Bell said in a statement. “We were concerned that her kidneys were failing.”
Kate told H&H: “The vet said to me it would be ok to let her go; that we’d done really well but some of them aren’t going to make it.
“She’d already ‘died’ once and they’d revived her but it wasn’t looking good. I asked them to give me half an hour to process it because it wasn’t just my money and my decision. It’s all the people who have given.
“Five minutes later, the vet called back and said: ‘I don’t believe it; she’s just drunk a whole bowl of milk’. From being literally dead an hour ago, she’d done that. The vet said: ‘Go and fundraise’.”
Kate put out an appeal on Facebook, and asked for donors’ opinions and advice, as the bill to keep the filly in intensive care overnight was likely to exceed £3,000.
The post was shared hundreds of times and by midnight, the money had been raised. By 8am on Sunday, Honey was out of intensive care.
“The rest is history, really, because she made it,” Kate said, adding that through Facebook, she was put in touch with a mare who had lost her foal, and that by Sunday, this mare had been brought to Bell from Hampshire.
“She took to little Honey immediately,” Kate said. “It took Honey a bit longer because she didn’t know what teats were and they were high up – she’s a pony and the mare’s a big warmblood – but she stretches up and finds them now.”
Kate said she found it hard to understand the mentality of whoever had abandoned the filly.
“They didn’t dump her to be found, they dumped her to be lost,” she said. “We can only assume but it looked as though she’d been thrown over the fence – there was no other way into the field than a locked gate and the fence looked disturbed – they dumped her to be lost, and that’s vile. That’s unforgivable.
“I think she’d been born that morning – I’ve been breeding foals for a long time, and the vets agreed – so the poor little thing had been left out there on that hot day.
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“I think the mare probably died, borne out by the fact she’d had no colostrum and didn’t know what to do with a teat, she’d never suckled. She isn’t the normal sort who’s dumped; she’s a nice little Welsh or Welsh cross; a very unusual colour and a filly.”
Honey’s condition has continued to improve and the plan is that she will leave Bell this week and stay with her foster mother in Hampshire until she is weaned.
“Then Hollie wants to take her, as a pony for her daughter,” Kate said. “So it’s come full circle, which is lovely.”
To donate to Little Sweep’s Fund, visit the GoFundMe page.