We have reached a historical milestone with the arrival of our 1000th rescue since our charity was founded by Rosemary Kind in 1988.

The filly foal was born at our Honeysuckle yard but developed a life-threatening condition. Our expert staff were quick to act giving emergency veterinary care.

Fuzzy Bear arrived with two other pregnant mares, Lotte and Taylor, having been relinquished as part of a multi-agency rescue led by the RSPCA.  The case resulted in the prosecution of Ann Sim at the North Devon Equine Rescue in Barnstaple, for causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

Her filly foal was born late on Thursday 30 April but quickly started to show the early signs of colic; tail swishing, being restless and agitated.

We called in Richard Frost, our Sanctuary vet, as her condition deteriorated.  He said:

“When I examined the foal, she was bright and still interested in suckling from Fuzzy Bear, but the signs were starting to get worse.  The retention of meconium – the foal’s first sticky droppings – is the most common cause of colic in new-born foals, so we started treatment and she responded well.

“Unfortunately, the following day she started showing similar signs again which made ‘meconium retention’ less likely to be the cause of her abdominal pain. Foals can deteriorate into life threatening situations very quickly, so we made the decision to refer her for further investigation.”

We rushed Fuzzy Bear and her foal to the team at Western Counties Equine Hospital where she stayed for five days of intensive care.

fuzzy bear

Richard explained the treatment she had:

“Their investigations suggested that the cause of the pain was a spasming of her urethra which was preventing her from emptying her bladder. A catheter was placed to allow her to urinate freely and she was monitored carefully over the next few days. Once the catheter was removed and it was clear that the foal could urinate normally, they were allowed to return to our sanctuary.

“This has been a scary start to life for Fuzzy’s foal but there shouldn’t be any long-term damage and she should go on to be a strong healthy foal.”

To celebrate the foal’s survival, and as a way of saying thank you to our supporters, we invited the public to suggest names for the little one, who has the protection of our Sanctuary for the rest of her life. The public named the filly, Teyah meaning ‘precious’ and ‘caring’.

Since the coronavirus crisis, we have seen a significant reduction in our income.  Our special appeal has raised £22,000 so far but equines are costly animals to care for, especially in complex cases like this.


Sarah Jane Williamson, our Chief Executive, said:

“Reaching our 1000th rescue is a stark reminder of the specialist care we must still provide. Our work to rescue, rehabilitate and retrain horses and ponies who have experienced neglect and abuse has changed considerably in recent years, with the rise in the intake of groups of horses and ponies from difficult and complex rescue situations, often in collaboration with other charities.

“We knew complications were more likely with our recent foals, as all their mothers were rescued from a case where the owner was prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

“Fuzzy Bear’s foal is doing well now, but only thanks to the lifesaving treatment she received in our care and with the help of the veterinary teams.”