‘Slowly starving in agony’: rescued horses and ponies need your help

  • Nine horses and ponies who were “living a nightmare” as they were “slowly starving in pure agony” have taken the first steps on their journey to recovery.

    H&H reported on the prosecution relating to an equine therapy centre, from which three ponies were rescued and taken to the Mare and Foal Sanctuary and nine to the Horse Trust.

    The Horse Trust is now appealing for support as it rehabilitates its new residents.

    “Sven, Olaf and seven other Shetlands and horses were owned by a small family business run as a community interest company, hosting pony parties and claiming to provide equine-assisted therapy sessions for vulnerable people,” a spokesman for the charity said.

    “Intended to bring joy into people’s lives, no one could have expected that behind closed doors, these animals were living an awful nightmare.

    “Left fending for themselves, with no food or water, these gentle souls were slowly starving and suffering in pure agony. Poor little Olaf was one of the most emaciated ponies, merely skin and bones, a far cry from the round, healthy stature he should have been. Large chunks of his coat were missing from his back and down his legs, causing him great pain and discomfort.

    “His best friend Sven was so weak from neglect that he was lying lifeless on the ground, terrified and simply fighting for his life when found by a partner charity’s welfare officer.” 

    The Horse Trust took in Sven and Olaf, as well as Darth Vader, Walter, Spartan, Freddo, Kahlo, Sam and Shadow.

    “Healing from such trauma takes time and lots of resource,” the spokesman said. “Your support is vital in ensuring they continue to receive the care and attention necessary for their wellbeing.

    “Many welfare cases who have endured continual neglect, like Sven and Olaf, often have long-term health issues and are at greater risk of serious illness as time goes by. Unfortunately, the internal damage done often does not become fully known until a few years down the road and can be costly to treat and in some cases, irreparable.

    “Those who have knowledge of animal behaviour also know all too well that scars like theirs run beyond the physical. This could take months or even longer.”

    The charity’s CEO Jeanette Allen said the Horse Trust was pleased to be able to give the horses and ponies a permanent home.

    “The herd of mini Shetlands have captured everyone’s hearts here at our sanctuary and we are working incredibly hard to make sure their trust in people continues to grow so that we can give them the best potential future,” she said. “It’s always incredibly gratifying when charities are able to work together collaboratively to get the best outcome for the animals we all care about.”

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