Tiny foal, Tintin, is facing a brighter future after his recent rescue by World Horse Welfare, but what vet’s found on his foot left everyone at the charity in disbelief and makes it even more remarkable that he is expected to make a full recovery.

Field Officer Becky Bedson visited a field in Essex, after a concerned member of the public reported a foal with a piece of metal wrapped around its leg. Becky arrived to find a large snow-covered field, strewn with rubbish, with a number of horses in it including the mare and small foal that had been reported.

Although the mare was friendly, the foal was unhandled and nervous, and despite trying for some time Becky was unable to get close enough to check him. Although it was obvious that there was a piece of metal attached to his leg, Becky could see that the foal was not lame, seemed to be moving well and there were no obvious injuries.

As it would be impossible to catch the foal in a such a large field without running the risk of it running around and potentially harming itself further, the decision was made to return with help, corrals, and a sedative dart gun to enable the capture of the foal which would cause him the least stress.

“In the end we didn’t need to sedate the foal, which we discovered was a male and later named Tintin, as when we corralled him with Snowy, his friendly mum, we were able to check him out,” said Becky. “Under the mud and long winter fur we were able to see what looked like a strip of metal around his lower leg and it was decided to move him and his mum to a nearby vets, as we didn’t know what we would find underneath once we removed the metal.”

Under light sedation the vets discovered and removed a complete tin can, fitted over Tintin’s foot like a glove. But there was disbelief when they realised underneath was a second complete tin can. Remarkably, when this tightly secured second can was removed it was found that somehow Tintin had escaped any serious injury. Vets estimated that the cans had been on the foot for a couple of weeks. Now released, it is expected that the foot will make a complete recovery.

When asked about the tins Becky said: “We don’t believe these tins were put on deliberately. Tintin is unhandled and doesn’t allow close approach, so we simply can’t imagine anyone getting close enough to do this. Perhaps he stepped on two cans that were already inside each other among the rubbish in his field?”

Whilst all this was going on, an Abandonment Notice had been posted on the field, looking for Tintin and Snowy’s owner. After a set period had elapsed – and as nobody had come forward – Snowy and Tintin were signed over by the authorities to World Horse Welfare who moved them to their Hall Farm centre in Norfolk.

During their assessment, it was found that both ponies were underweight under their dense winter coats, with overgrown hooves.

“Vet and farriery support, gentle care and careful feeding is helping them both to blossom,” added a World Horse Welfare spokesman. “Tintin is rapidly becoming used to being handled and is beginning to show his playful side and, despite being tiny, is now believed to be around a year old. They will both continue with their rehabilitation with World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm team with the aim that they will be ready for rehoming in due course..”

You can watch the removal of the cans from Tintin’s foot and hear more from Becky by clicking here.

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