The land owner used the Control of Horses Act 2015 to have the pair seized by bailiffs. We were asked to help with their continuing care, and of course we couldn't refuse.

We called them Maisey and Holly. Maisey, with her coal-black shaggy mane and feathery feet seemed to be the healthier one, and more confident to approach us. Holly kept her distance, seemed timid; she had been shod at some time, but her two remaining shoes were hanging off and she struggled to walk. We couldn't be sure how old she was, but it didn't look as if she had seen much kindness or care in her young life.

Both ponies had runny noses, and Maisey had a persistent cough. Abandoned, perhaps because of their poor condition. Fly-tipped like bits of rubbish to save the owner the trouble of disposal or treatment. We knew they'd have to be quarantined, assessed and treated if they were to have a chance.

Their coats were infested with lice and mites, and their feet were in dreadful condition  so as well as getting the vet to see them as a matter of urgency, we had a farrier in the next day to do their feet. The two were clearly very close to each other, sisters you might say, in adversity. They looked out for each other, and Holly started to open up a little.

Maisey continued to appear as the healthier and more resilient of the two. She continued to be a very friendly pony, a real sweetie. However, the symptoms and presentation were very worrying; her cough just wouldn't go away, so blood tests and a guttural wash test and endoscopy for strangles were needed.

Then good news - but alongside it, the very worst. The strangles tests were negative – such a relief. But Maisey’s endoscopy showed that she had a serious life threatening problem with her oesophagus epiglottis. This meant that she had a deformity in her throat that allowed food to get into her windpipe. Sooner or later, Maisey would choke or get a fatal lung infection. Seeing the two girls together, you would never guess that Maisey was in such danger of losing her life in a horrible way.

The vet consulted to a leading expert to see if it was possible to rectify Maisie's problem with surgery, but unfortunately it was not. Very sadly, and with great heartache we had to put Maisey to sleep. All was arranged, and Maisey left us very quietly and gently. She'd had all the love, care, good food and kindness we could possibly give her in her short time with us.

Holly didn't know what to make of Maisey’s death for a while; they don't forget. But life goes on, and Holly grew stronger and more confident. She's moved to a loving home where an older mare has taken Holly on as a daughter.

Friends in adversity...

Holly and Maisie's story.

Susie

In late November 2017 we received reports of two young ponies abandoned on a strip of land next to a motorway. We investigated carefully, and sure enough there they were – surviving in a finger of rough ground between noisy motorway traffic and a farmer's field. The grazing was sparse; no access to fresh water except in a very steep-sided drainage culvert.

In late November 2017 we received reports of two young ponies abandoned on a strip of land next to a motorway. We investigated carefully, and sure enough there they were – surviving in a finger of rough ground between noisy motorway traffic and a farmer's field. The grazing was sparse; no access to fresh water except in a very steep-sided drainage culvert.

gallery/holly_maisey_stable
gallery/holly_now