A pair of ponies, both rescued from dreadful circumstances in 2023, have formed a strong bond in time for the New Year. Barney, a young pony who was found lying upside down, partially covered by an old mattress, on a pile of rubble, was taken in by Redwings Horse Sanctuary. Around the same time, Mason, an emaciated orphaned foal was also rescued by the charity.

Underneath his thick coat Barney, thought to be just five months old when he was rescued, was emaciated and covered in pressure sores. He spent the beginning of 2023 at the charity’s quarantine facility, receiving treatment for his wounds, and careful feeding and care to restore his weight. He then moved to Redwings’ Hapton headquarters in Norfolk, where he has recently become a companion to Mason.

Barney was found in horrendous circumstances

Mason, a Welsh cross pony, was one of three ponies who came to Redwings in February, after a joint rescue operation on Gelligaer common in South Wales with RSPCA Cymru, Caerphilly County Borough Council and World Horse Welfare. He was an orphan foal, thought to be around three months old, and without his mother he was struggling to survive and was severely emaciated.

On arrival at the sanctuary, Mason was so weak he had to be helped off the horsebox by the Redwings team and placed on round-the-clock care. He was subdued and although he was eating, he took very little interest in his surroundings. Test results showed the level of protein in Mason’s blood was extremely low.

“Mason was effectively a feral pony, but he did not show any fear when I examined him or even when we took those first blood samples,” said Redwings Veterinary Surgeon Dawn Trayhorn. “He’d never been handled but he was too weak to show that he was frightened of us.”

Mason struggled to stand

Tests confirmed Mason had a heavy parasitic worm burden, and his intestinal wall was damaged. Mason required lifesaving plasma transfusions as well as antibiotics to treat a concurrent bacterial infection of his intestine, dewormers, anti-inflammatories and steroids.

“There were so many things going against Mason from the day he was found and rescued but having barely survived, we were desperate to make sure he wasn’t going to just fade away,” Dawn added.

Gradually his intestines began to heal and the level of protein in his blood increased to a healthy level. After months of concern that he might never recover, the Redwings staff began to feel positive about his future and set about finding him a suitable fieldmate, which is where Barney stepped in.

The ponies enjoy relaxing together

“Twelve months after we were all so shocked by the discovery of Barney, who was found discarded like rubbish on a pile of rubble, it is heartwarming to see him flourishing so much that he is even lending a helping hoof to a fellow rescued youngster,” said Redwings Welfare Vet Nicola Berryman, who cared for Barney when he first arrived.

“Mason’s future on the common was very uncertain, and it is likely that without being rescued he would have died. Instead, both ponies have a safe and secure future at Redwings, and each other for company! None of this would be possible with the kindness of our supporters, whose donations truly save lives – all year round.”

Related articles