Foal ‘Sienna’ is first to be born in RSPCA care in the north this year. A horse rescued by the RSPCA after she was abandoned and left to fend for herself has given birth to a healthy filly foal last weekend (3 March) in the care of the RSPCA.
The three-year-old horse named Flare was found abandoned in field close to York in October (2017). She was heavily in foal, and was left to fend for herself.
She and another pony had been abandoned whilst tethered which meant she was at high risk of danger to herself and her unborn foal had she gone into labour. Thanks to a kind passer-by who spotted them and alerted the RSPCA, both were taken to safety. Happily, Flare continued her pregnancy in the charity’s care before delivering her foal, Sienna, last weekend (Saturday 3 March.)
As neither of the horses were microchipped, their owners were not successfully traced and did not come forward to claim them.
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 had not 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 is 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. As this posed a significant risk to her welfare and no owners came forward to claim her, she was considered abandoned and could be taken into the charity’s care.
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.
“We have more than 800 horses in our care across the country right now, and stories like Flare and Sienna’s are all too common. Our inspectors are called out every day to find abandoned horses, and without a microchip, it’s hard to trace who is responsible. 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 they new lives can really start.”
If you’d like to help us continue to rescue and rehabilitate horses like Flare and Sienna, please visit our website to donate to the RSPCA.