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Pregnant mare dumped to die in storm could leave legacy to help other horses

The death of a pregnant mare who was dumped in the mud during the worst storm of the year highlights the need for support to help other horses in need.

Happy Endings Horse Rescue was called out when the coloured mare, named Cecilia, was found at the end of a muddy track in Kent on Wednesday morning (15 January).

The seven-year-old, who was emaciated, suffering from severe diarrhoea and six months’ pregnant, was taken to Newnham Court Equine Clinic, but despite their best efforts, died yesterday (17 January).

Happy Endings co-founder Chris Johns told H&H there is no way the mare could have walked to where she lay.

“Normally, people tie them to a tree a drive off but she hadn’t been tied; she’d been tipped off in a heap in the mud,” he said.

“We got her up and got her to the vet; she stood all the way there in the trailer but her body just shut down. She weighed 185kg, and had a body condition score of one.”

Chris believes the mare was dumped because she was ill.

“People say owners like this need educating and I’ve got no problem with that,” he said. “I’d happily offer free vet care or to be contacted if I’m needed – but you can’t teach people to care.

“You can’t teach them that dumping an animal, sick but alive, in the mud like that is wrong. She must have been petrified, lying there in the mud.

“There’s nothing the vets didn’t try to save her, and the saddest thing is that she was in foal.”

A fundraising page set up to cover Cecilia’s care had reached nearly £13,000 by yesterday and Chris hopes that the pony’s legacy might be opening people’s eyes to the horse crisis.

“People may not realise but she’s one of many, and we can’t make a difference unless people support us,” he said, adding that the charity is in need of a round pen, to catch feral horses in need, a hoist to lift those unable to stand and a weigh bridge, while he would also like to buy more land to take more equines in.

“Kent has got a massive horse problem and there aren’t any big centres to take horses but with people’s help, we can do more.”

Newnham Court director Katie Snalune said: “Cecilia was put in intensive care and treated with plasma, intravenous fluid therapy, anti-endotoxins, antidiarrhoeals, intestinal adsorbents, electrolytes and careful re-feeding.

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“Blood and faecal samples were taken revealing severe intestinal protein loss, likely secondary to worm infestation.

“Ultrasonography showed thickening of her large colon, and also confirmed she was six months in foal. Blood markers revealed evidence of severe protein catabolism, likely associated with a starved mare trying to cope with the increased demand of being pregnant.  Despite intensive care, Cecilia deteriorated developing multi-organ failure and was put to sleep today. We are devastated that her intestinal damage was too severe to save her and her unborn foal.

“It is a sad state of affairs that this is a daily occurrence for us being presented with emaciated diarrhoeic ponies. This is a totally preventable disease that merely requires good pasture management, appropriate nutrition and worming. These are basic requirements for any horse owner to provide and it is just not acceptable that this continues on and on, on a daily basis, let alone the cruelty of being dumped off a truck.

“We continue to work alongside Happy Endings Rescue doing all we can to bring these poor animals back to health.”

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