A neglected horse and her young foal were “discarded like rubbish and left for dead” before being rescued by an equine charity.

Staff at HorseWorld received a call to say a severely emaciated mare had been abandoned and had given birth. The mare was so weak she could barely stand and was unable to provide for her fragile young foal. With no food or water to be found in the field, they were struggling to survive.

“It was a miracle she had managed to give birth to a living foal when she was in such horrendous condition herself.” said HorseWorld’s Head of Equine Welfare, Sarah Hollister. “Her skeletal body had nothing left to give her baby and they were both in imminent danger of dying.”

The mare, now named Blossom, had to be offered water frequently in small amounts. She was so thirsty, she risked overwhelming her depleted system.

The foal struggled to walk. The extreme malnutrition his mother had suffered during pregnancy meant his legs weren’t developing in the way they should. He needed to be fitted with glue-on shoes to alter the way he walked so the muscles and tendons would develop in the correct way. Staff at HorseWorld named him Forest.

The pair will remain in the charity’s care while they undergo a tailored rehabilitation programme in the hope they will both make a full recovery. They are among others that have been rescued from similar circumstances in the past few months and staff at HorseWorld anticipate there will be many more like them needing rescue in the months ahead.

A Winter Appeal has been launched in an attempt to cover some of the extensive costs associated with rehabilitating Blossom and Forest as well as others in the charity’s care.

“We understand times are hard for everyone at the moment so we’re really appreciative of any donations our supporters can give.” said HorseWorld’s Fundraising Coordinator, Amy Williams.

“The cost of living crisis is hitting charities hard and we anticipate the need for our services to increase dramatically as horse owners feel the pinch. We’re already seeing a higher than average number of horses being abandoned and neglected. As the winter draws in, we need to be prepared to help as many as we can.”

Those who would like to help can find HorseWorld’s Winter Appeal at www.horseworld.org.uk/winter-appeal

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