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‘She should have been bucking my daughter off’: vets remove 30cm ovarian tumour from 11.2hh mare

The owner of a Welsh mare who was behaving perfectly under saddle despite the fact she was carrying a 30cm ovarian tumour says this demonstrates what a “perfect” pony she is.

Sam Green sought veterinary advice when her daughter Ellie-May’s 11.2hh mare Nellie started acting out of character. She told H&H the eight-year-old had been cantering and jumping with no issues, but on the ground was a different matter.

“She reared behind someone one day, and we couldn’t touch her right ear,” Sam said.

“We put it down to her being grumpy because she was with another mare who was about to give birth and was getting all the attention; Nellie loves people and always wants to be with you.

“Then she passed another mare and her neck arched and seemed to grow bigger and she was squealing like a stallion. She didn’t mount but she was scaring the 17hh horses with her squealing and how she was acting.”

There were no other signs of any issues but Sam called her vet, who took bloods.

“When they came back, the vet said they were off the scale for hormones,” she said. “She got booked straight in at B&W equine vets; they thought it was a tumour on one ovary but they wouldn’t know till they scanned her.”

The vets had intended to perform keyhole surgery but realised this was not an option when they saw the size of the tumour, which weighed abou 11lb, so Nellie underwent a major operation to remove it last Monday (22 June).

She then suffered complications on her return home, and Sam said she was unable to eat or drink for days, but she appears now to be on the mend, and should be able to return to ridden work in eight weeks.

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“I thought we were going to lose her, but then one day, she started nibbling,” she said.

“Ellie-May, who’s also eight — they have the same birthday — was so upset as she worries about her pony but Nellie’s back to herself now.

“The vet said it was the biggest tumour he’d ever seen, especially because of her size; he’d never seen one like it even in a big horse.

“It just shows how honest she is. She should have been bucking my daughter off every day but she’s just perfect.”

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