Suffering foal found upside down in rubble is now doing well in Redwings’ care

Suffering foal barney was found collapsed in rubble

A poor neglected foal who was found suffering terribly at a rubbish tip in December 2022 is now doing well in the care of Redwings Horse Sanctuary. He was thought to be only about 5 months old and was completely emaciated under his hair. He was covered in pressure sores on many parts of his little body, had a significant worm burden and could not stand on his own.

He was lying, collapsed and upside down, in a pile of rubble, partially covered by an old mattress. An RSPCA officer and vets from House & Jackson Veterinary Services managed to get him onto his feet and warm him up. The foal was taken to the House & Jackson Equine Veterinary facility where he stayed for two weeks. Initially, it did not look too good for the little foal who really had a big fight ahead of him. But with the dedication of the staff, he began to turn a corner and hope was seen for his survival.

The foal, who has been named ‘Barney’ by the volunteers who rescued him, was then transferred to the UK’s largest Horse Charity – Redwings – on 15th December. Redwings Welfare Veterinary Surgeon, Nicola Berryman, has been overseeing Barney’s care since he arrived at the Sanctuary. She said:

Barney was able to stand up and lay down himself by the time he came to us, but he was very quiet and weak. Clinically he was doing better, but he was a very sad, emaciated little pony. 

Foal, Barney
Foal, Barney is now safe and recovering at Redwings

Nicola went on to say


He had an infected wound on his left hip which needed surgery to remove the dead tissue and daily dressing changes to protect it. Barney was so skinny and the weather so cold that he had to wear a rug and without dressings the rug could have rubbed on it, so it was important the team carefully cleaned and redressed the wound daily. “It took several weeks to heal – and an incredibly dedicated effort from the team – with the last dressing finally removed on 25th January 2023. Barney was also suffering from very itchy legs and had to be treated for mites”. 

It’s wonderful to see him now – he’s bright and has a character, skipping and bucking around his stable and going out for a daily turnout on the woodchips. He’s doing so well.” 

No owner could be identified, despite an investigation by an RSPCA investigation. Luckily, Barney has been given a forever home at the sanctuary. 

During 2022, Redwings took in 109 horses and ponies, including Barney.  Their Officers intervened in 125 cases, improving the conditions of 622 horses by giving owners advice or the removal of the animal into their care. 

Redwings Horse Sanctuary was established in 1984 and has grown to be the largest horse charity in the UK, working to save horses, ponies, donkeys and mules whose future would otherwise be bleak. Redwings is currently responsible for over 2,000 rescued horses and donkeys across the UK, including 700 living out on permanent loan in Guardian homes. 

To make a donation towards this vital work, and to help Redwings to help more ponies like Barney, please visit: Redwings Donate or call 01508 505246. 

The RSPCA gives advice on what to do if you find a horse that appears to be abandoned or at risk of harm: 

If there is a healthy animal on a motorway or major ‘A’ road in England or Wales please call the Highways Agency (for England) on 0300 123 5000 or Traffic Wales on 0845 602 6020 so arrangements can be made for the animal to be removed. 

Any healthy stray animals found on minor roads in England and Wales should be reported to the police so they can decide on the actions necessary to ensure the safety of road users and the animal. 

For injured animals in the road, RSPCA can only attend an animal that is highly likely to be at the scene once they arrive. If there is an injured domestic animal on the road and it is still mobile and in and out of traffic, please contact the local police on 101.

If the animal is badly injured, please call the police. If there is no imminent danger to life please call their cruelty line between 8am-8pm on 0300 1234 999.

You can also find further advice on what to do if you discover a stray or injured horse here.

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