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Rescued mare’s lockdown foal named in honour of pandemic heroes

A foal born to a mare rescued from a life of neglect has been named Rainbow in honour of Britain’s key workers.

The RSPCA said there was no name more suited to the filly, born during the coronavirus lockdown.

Dam Penny was found in poor condition with a foal at foot in April 2019, in County Durham. Her owner was unable to care for her so she was taken into RSPCA care.

Penny’s foal was old enough to be weaned, and the mare was scanned and thought not to be pregnant.

RSPCA equine operations manager Jacqui Wilson  said: “Penny was soon looking well and becoming stronger by the day thanks to the expert care of the staff, and she was moved to RSPCA Felledge equine centre to start her education to be ridden.

“But while she was at Felledge, Penny continued to gain weight and change shape, which raised suspicions among staff that the test had been wrong and that she was, in fact, in foal. This was confirmed by the vet and Penny was transferred back to the peace and quiet of an RSPCA private boarding stables to have her foal.”

Rainbow was born on 15 April and named, the RSPCA said, “in honour of all the key workers across the country who are currently dedicating themselves to saving lives”.

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Jacqui said: “Rainbow’s birth was an unexpected joy during this difficult time so her name makes total sense. As the rainbow has become a symbol of all the amazing people who are out on the front lines, in the NHS, in supermarkets and even at the RSPCA during the lockdown, this seemed like the perfect tribute to their fantastic work.”

Rainbow is enjoying turnout with her mother, and staff said she is already proving to be a “colourful character”.

“Animal rescuers at the charity have been designated key workers by the government but vital funding is needed to keep them out on the road, continuing to rescue animals from the worst cruelty and neglect,” an RSPCA spokesman said.

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