Rescued mare too weak to feed her foal becomes showing champion

  • An emaciated pony who gave birth shortly after she was rescued and was too weak to feed her foal has transformed into a showing champion and is looking for a new home.

    Buttercup was rescued in May 2018 following a call by a concerned member of the public to the RSPCA. The 12hh mare was taken to a holding yard where she gave birth to her foal Frieda.

    Buttercup on arrival

    A spokesman for World Horse Welfare said Buttercup was so weak she was unable to care for her foal and the pair were transferred to the charity’s Penny Farm rescue and rehoming centre, Lancashire, to receive specialist round-the-clock care.

    “Being so weak and emaciated, Buttercup had to have a very careful feeding regime to begin building up her strength. Initially she was fed four times a day until eventually she was strong enough to go out in a paddock for a few hours at a time and then she began to gain condition slowly but surely,” she said.

    “Frieda was hand-reared by the dedicated Penny Farm team and thrived in their care. As a hand-reared foal she is very people-oriented and has been rehomed. At the moment she is, of course a youngster, and we are waiting to see how she develops.”

    Penny Farm assistance centre manager Karen Wright said when Buttercup first arrived she stood with her head hung low, with her spine and hip bones protruding.

    “She had sores on both sides, where she had struggled to get up. She was so weak, she didn’t take an interest in anything,” she said.

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    “Once she was eventually strong enough we started doing some in-hand exercise with her. We realised she might do very well at in-hand showing and she went to Equifest last year. They have special rescue classes, which are judged on the horse or pony’s previous history, their transformation and their performance. Buttercup was very well behaved and she was crowned champion, so we’re very proud of her.”

    The spokesman added that following 14-year-old Buttercup’s Equifest success she has become a star of the charity’s ‘groom a pony’ sessions and is now looking for a home.

    “She’s wonderful with children and loves being groomed and fussed over. Although she can’t be ridden, Buttercup is ready to be rehomed as a non-ridden companion and is sure to become a much-loved family member, whoever her lucky rehomer is,” she said.

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