Lice-ridden ‘bag of bones’ rescue mare survives to deliver healthy filly

  • A pregnant mare who was being “eaten alive” by lice and so thin she looked like a “bag of bones” is thriving with her new filly six months after her rescue.

    Violet arrived at World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm in March, having been signed over to the charity. The emaciated 15-year-old 12.2hh mare was suffering from a severe lice infestation and worm burden and on a veterinary assessment it was discovered she was pregnant.

    rescue horse

    Violent on her arrival at Hall Farm

    Groom Megan Jarvis said Violet was in “quite a bad state” on her arrival.

    “It was so upsetting to see a pregnant mare so underweight,” she said.

    “She was in such poor condition. She was covered head to toe in lice so the first thing we wanted to do was make her comfortable. The best way to do that was to clip everything off her. We wouldn’t normally clip a horse as we wouldn’t need to, but as Violet’s lice were so bad we just couldn’t keep the coat on. They were literally eating her alive.”

    Violet’s condition began to improve with time and she started to put on weight.

    “Every day you would see a difference in Violet. It was so nice to be able to see her so much more comfortable, happier in her environment and gaining that trust in human interaction again,” said Megan.

    “It was then just about waiting patiently for the day she could drop her foal. We wanted to make sure she felt comfortable and loved and she had as much food as she could possibly have.”

    Violet gave birth to a filly, named Rose, on 20 April.

    “That night I put Violet to bed as normal and I just had this feeling that she was going to give birth,” said Megan, who checked the security cameras through the night and spotted Violet was having difficulties with her delivery.

    “It’s really important we have these cameras. That night if I hadn’t looked at the camera, I don’t think Rose would be here today. Rose came out and we got her on her feet and made sure she was breathing ok.”

    Violet and Rose were checked every two hours for the first few days and the filly was soon strong enough to go out in the field.

    “Violet has been slowly and carefully gaining weight; having had a tooth removed making chewing a lot easier for her. Throughout everything she has continued to be a fantastic mother to Rose, really showing her strength of character and determination,” said a charity spokesman.

    “Rose has inherited this too, and is busy growing into a feisty, strong filly, who rapidly won the hearts of all the Hall Farm team who have been involved in the pair’s care.”

    Field officer Chris Shaw, who was involved in Violet’s rescue, added that it was “fantastic” to see the mare and foal so well.

    “The team have done a wonderful job nursing Rose through those precarious first few days and it’s incredible to see her going from strength to strength now. It’s safe to say that Violet’s life has been transformed since coming into our care – and the wonderful thing is that Rose will only ever know love and kindness,” he said.

    “Getting Violet and Rose to this stage has been a real team effort and that will continue until both are hopefully ready for rehoming. Our generous supporters make these transformations possible so if you might be able to spare £5 a month to sponsor one of four stable yards, please do consider it. Our stable yards are such a vital part of the recovery and rehabilitation process, providing a safe space for mares like Violet to give birth and for poorly foals to be cared for by our expert team, as Rose was.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...