The rescuers of a foal who had been reported to have metal wrapped around his leg were taken aback when they discovered the colt had two tin cans lodged on his foot. World Horse Welfare field officer Becky Bedson found the foal with its dam, and other horses, in a field full of rubbish in Essex in December.
“Sure enough, there was the foal with his mum, and I could see him moving about freely, but I could also see what looked like a can on its hoof – like a baked bean can,” Becky said. “The environment was full of rubbish and quite a lot of hazards; it was a pretty bleak place to live.”
Becky said the snow-covered field was a large one and although the mare seemed friendly, the foal appeared “extremely skittish” and unhandled so she returned with help to catch him. Thanks to the mare’s calmness, the pair were secured in a small pen, then taken to a veterinary clinic, where the foal was sedated so the can could be removed.
“Incredibly, there weren’t just one can on his foot, but two,” Becky explained. “We don’t know if he stood on a large one with a small one in it, but it was an unbelievable find.”
The cans were carefully cut off and it was found the foal had managed to avoid serious injury. Vets believe the cans had been on his foot for a couple of weeks, and that he should make a full recovery.
An abandonment notice was posted on the field and as no owners came forward, the mare and foal were signed over to World Horse Welfare, and have been moved to the charity’s Hall Farm centre in Norfolk. Both were in poor body condition with overgrown hooves, and they will be cared for, and should be candidates for rehoming in future.
Tintin and Snowy have been given names in a stroke of inspiration.
“There’s often a joke about what we’ll nickname ponies, and because it wasn’t tragic; it was a wonderful rescue and he wasn’t hurt, we batted a couple about,” Becky explained. “Tintin was one possibility, but we decided with Snowy and Tintin for the foal because there was snow on the ground and it was right before Christmas.”
Vet and farriery support and gentle care and careful feeding is helping them both to blossom.