Touching footage captures orphaned foal making first friend

16 September 2019, 17:00 | Updated: 16 September 2019, 17:38

By Megan White

Touching footage captured the moment an orphaned foal made her first friend after being released from quarantine.

Ava had her first taste of freedom at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary after being found alone and terrified on Dartmoor in July.

Staff at the Sanctuary’s welfare centre in Newton Abbot had feared she wouldn’t recover following weeks of health scares. Ava had been suffering from pneumonia, stomach and liver problems since she was first spotted near Lee Moor.

But she has now been released from quarantine and has been allowed into her own little paddock to enjoy some fresh air, grass – and the room to run around.

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary is now one of the largest equine charities rescuing horses and ponies in the South West.

Orphaned Ava was found alone and unwell on Dartmoor
Orphaned Ava was found alone and unwell on Dartmoor. Picture: Mare and Foal Sanctuary

And it is unlikely – without the charity’s regular vet checks, blood tests, medication and two hourly feeds with 24hr round the clock care – she would have made it.

The charity’s dedicated grooms took it in turns to monitor and feed her every two hours – often sleeping on site - to ensure her condition did not deteriorate.

Beech Trees Yard Manager Nicola Weall said: “For nearly two months, every waking - and sleeping - hour has been dedicated to making sure she is ok and hoping that she pulls through.

“She still has a way to go with her recovery but here's hoping that she is a fighter and she is now safe in our care for the rest of her life.”

The adorable foal had her first taste of freedom at the Sanctuary's centre in Newton Abbot
The adorable foal had her first taste of freedom at the Sanctuary's centre in Newton Abbot. Picture: Mare and Foal Sanctuary

Ava now weighs a very healthy 116kg – more than twice her arrival weight - and is growing daily.

Head of Equine Sally Burton said: “It’s been a difficult few weeks for Ava. When she came to us, she was very frightened and was probably already suffering from pneumonia.

“We don't know how long she had been without her mum, but she must have been really worried and was probably trying to follow other mares.

“It's no surprise that she was extremely tired when she arrived at the Sanctuary after having had no milk for quite a long time.

“Our grooms have done an amazing job, not only keeping her alive, but keeping her calm, engaged, well fed and happy. It’s down to them that she has pulled through.”

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