A horse that was abandoned and left tethered in a field has given birth to a healthy filly foal since being rescued, say the RSPCA.
Flare, a three-year old coloured mare, was found with another horse in a field close to York in October last year. She was heavily in foal, and was left to fend for herself.
Being tethered meant Flare was at risk of danger to herself and her unborn foal, had she gone into labour.
A passerby spotted them and alerted the RSPCA, who took both horses to safety.
Flare continued her pregnancy in the charity’s care before delivering her foal, Sienna, last weekend (Saturday 3 March.)
No one came forward to claim either of the horses. As neither were microchipped, their owners couldn't be traced.
RSPCA equine rehoming officer for the north, Jacqui Wilson said: “Flare has done a wonderful job so far of bringing up baby Sienna at a specialist private boarding yard in Hull, but things could have been so different if she hadn’t been rescued.
"Mares carry their foal for approximately 11 months before birth, but if Flare had been left abandoned for much longer, she may not have been able to safely give birth to Sienna.
"If she hadn't been rescued and was still tethered when giving birth last week in the extreme weather conditions, it would have been very dangerous, and because of this risk RSPCA inspectors were able to act in this instance.”
Tethering remains a legal practice in the UK, but it is not something the RSPCA agrees with as it's very difficult to ensure good welfare keeping horses in this way, particularly for pregnant mares.
Being tethered while giving birth and then with a foal at foot would have been incredibly stressful for Flare as she wouldn’t have been able to freely move around to protect her or Sienna from any danger.
Jacqui added: “When foals are born it’s always best to try and let nature take its course, the mare should always know best, but things can go wrong and there are times when they might need veterinary care and assistance.
"If Flare hadn’t been rescued when she was, both she and Sienna could have been in danger if there had been a complication. Being dumped out in the open with nobody caring for them is not a suitable environment for horses, and certainly no place for a newborn foal.
"For now, this pair will stay in our care until Sienna is weaned in about six months time, then we can look to finding new homes for them, where their new lives can really start.”
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