On 16th January 2015, horse rescue charity, HorseWorld were called to assist fellow charity, World Horse Welfare in checking a number of horses and ponies being grazed on land without permission, a practice known as fly-grazing. On arrival at one of these sites, a small abandoned colt foal was found emaciated almost to the point of death. In the deep drainage ditch that ran alongside the thin strip of wasteland, his young companion lay dead in the freezing water.
“When we saw this poor creature standing barely alive, we immediately called for assistance from the police and RSPCA to get authorisation to remove him from the scene.” Said HorseWorld’s Equine Rescue Manager, Jerry Watkins. “We also called a member of our team to bring a horse trailer to take him back to our specialist facilities and had the grooms and vet standing by to receive him. These foals were clearly dumped and left to die. There was nothing there to eat at all except for a few tufts of poor grass on the ditch’s steep edge. The poor deceased foal would most likely have been trying to reach this vegetation, slipped in and would have been too weak to climb out in his emaciated state.”
The rescued foal is estimated to be between four and five months old and his deceased companion would have been around the same age. Now named Felix meaning ‘Lucky one’, he is still in a critical condition but being cared for around the clock by HorseWorld’s experienced team.
“We have to lift him every so often through the night as if he lies down he isn’t strong enough to get up again.” Said HorseWorld’s Husbandry Manager, Joanne Vaughan. “He would certainly have died that night if we hadn’t brought him home. There was a hard frost that night and he would have laid down or eventually collapsed on the cold frosty ground and nobody would have been there to lift him up again. He isn’t microchipped so no owner could be located and hence prosecuted. This is an ongoing problem for the rescue charities who are trying to bring about an improvement in equine welfare by, amongst other things, holding owners to account for their actions.
“He now has a big straw bed and we are feeding him little and often throughout the day and night so as not to overload his delicate stomach. He was given a wormer when he arrived. The size of the worms he is excreting is shocking. If his mother wasn’t wormed, Felix would have been infested with worms before he was even born. Hopefully now he will be able to digest the special food we are giving him.”
The care of a rescued pony like Felix will run into many thousands of pounds. HorseWorld are appealing for your help. If you can make a donation to Felix’s appeal, please go to www.justgiving.com/FelixAppeal You can also Text FELX55 £2 / £5 / £10 to 70070 to donate eg FELX55 £5