Adorable orphan foal enjoys first taste of freedom after battle for life

  • An orphaned foal who was found alone on Dartmoor has been allowed out of quarantine for the first time since her arrival.

    Staff at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary have been caring for the filly around the clock since she arrived in July. They believe her mother died from colic.

    The pony was suffering from pneumonia as well as stomach and liver problems, but has since made a good recovery.

    “For nearly two months, every waking — and sleeping — hour has been dedicated to making sure she is ok and hoping that she pulls through,” said Nicola Weall, yard manager at the sanctuary’s specialist veterinary and welfare centre, Beech Trees.

    “She still has a way to go with her recovery but here’s hoping that she is a fighter and she is now safe in our care for the rest of her life.”

    Worried residents called Hill Pony Resources, but their yard was full to capacity, so they contacted the Mare and Foal Sanctuary who took her in.

    The charity’s grooms took it in turns to monitor and feed the filly every two hours and she has now more than doubled her arrival weight.

    For the first time since her arrival, she has been strong enough to go out in her own paddock to enjoy some fresh air, grass and room to run.

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    “It’s been a difficult few weeks for Ava. When she came to us, she was very frightened and was probably already suffering from pneumonia,” said the charity’s head of equine, Sally Burton.

    “We don’t know how long she had been without her mum, but she must have been really worried and was probably trying to follow other mares.

    “It’s no surprise that she was extremely tired when she arrived at the sanctuary, after having had no milk for quite a long time.

    Our grooms have done an amazing job. Not only keeping her alive, but keeping her calm, engaged, well fed and happy. It’s down to them that she has pulled through.”

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