Tiny foal smaller than average family dog born to rescued miniature pony

  • A tiny foal weighing just 12kg – smaller than the average family dog – has been born safely to a rescued Shetland pony, who pulled through life-threatening illness during her pregnancy.

    Pika, who stands at around 4hh (16 inches) high, is one of “if not the smallest” equines welfare charity Bransby Horses has ever had in its care.

    Both Polly and her foal are doing well, and their health is being carefully monitored.

    Pika and Polly

    “We had been watching Polly very carefully for the past few days, expecting a foal to arrive any day. She was so quick to give birth that when she was checked at suppertime there was no sign, and half an hour later there she was with her foal,” said Bransby Horses senior press officer Maria Thompson.

    “We just can’t get over how lovely they both are. We have had to adjust the fencing as it’s too high and would not keep Pika safe.

    “We are so pleased both mother and son are doing well as it was touch and go for Polly when she first came to us but, thanks to our wonderful supporters, we were able to provide the care she needed.”

    Polly was first seen by a vet at one of the British Horse Society’s (BHS) healthcare clinics, which are aimed at engaging hard-to-reach communities and provide free advice. They also provide reduced-cost services, such as passporting, castration, farrier services, and a weigh bridge.

    Bransby Horses works with the BHS at these clinics and, as was the case of Polly, were able to take in a vulnerable equine when there was no other viable option.

    “Polly was very sick when we first saw her,” said Nadine Hall, welfare and rescue officer at Bransby Horses.

    “Her breathing was laboured, and she had muscle tremors. She had a suspected calcium deficiency, and further veterinary investigations showed her liver was not working, a condition which may require long term [sanctuary] care, alongside her pregnancy.

    “After initial treatment to ensure she was well enough to travel, she was first taken to a specialist equine hospital for urgent medical attention. She very nearly died because of her conditions.

    “Following a miraculous recovery, Polly was transported to our intensive care unit where she gave birth a few weeks later.

    “So far mother and baby are doing well, Polly has responded to liver treatment and the liver is starting to work now, although there is still ongoing healing. We are monitoring them closely and hope to get them out into a bigger paddock, once we have adjusted the fencing.”

    Pika and Polly

    Bransby Horses welfare manager Rachel Jenkinson added: “While they may look cute, we really would not recommend breeding or purchasing miniature ponies without careful thought and consideration.

    “Like all equines, Shetland ponies and miniatures need specialist care and management and should only be taken on by knowledgeable people who are prepared to put the animal’s needs first for their entire lifetime, which can be well over a 30-year commitment.”

    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...