A pony rescued by World Horse Welfare has adopted an orphaned foal.
Grey Welsh mountain pony Lightning has been matched to a thoroughbred colt called Jerry, after her own foal was put down last month.
Lightning arrived at Belwade Farm, Aberdeenshire, thin and lice ridden in January.
She had been found living among car batteries, broken wood and metal with five other ponies.
As she had been living with a stallion, staff at the centre blood tested to see if she was in foal, but the results came back negative. But as time went on staff noticed she was gaining weight, and so tested again. And once again the blood tests came back negative — which can be the case if there is something seriously wrong with a foal.
But then on 22 July Lightening gave birth to a chestnut filly.
“We couldn’t believe it when we found Lightning had given birth, especially after two negative tests,” says centre manager Eileen Gillen. “But sadly after a couple of days it became apparent that the foal was brain damaged and we had no option but to put her to sleep.”
The centre began looking for an orphan foal for her to adopt and contacted the National Foaling Bank in Shropshire.
Jerry had been recently orphaned and was being looked after at the Royal Dick Veterinary College in Edinburgh, so it was arranged to bring him to meet Lightning.
“We all held our breath as they were carefully introduced to one another but to our relief Lightning took to him straight away and has been a fantastic foster mum,” said Eileen. “She even lifts her hind leg to allow him to suckle more easily.
“Lightning has been through so much and she is such an amazing pony. It was a very special moment and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house I can tell you.”
Jerry will stay at Belwade Farm until he is old enough to be weaned and returned to his owners, whilst Lightening will be rehomed through the charity’s loan scheme as soon as she is ready.