To celebrate their first birthday, we’re looking back at the important milestones in the first year of life for foals Lio, Tulip and Teyah.
The three foals were born at the Sanctuary during the first lockdown and at the most challenging time for the charity. The dams, Lotte, Fuzzy Bear and Taylor were all pregnant when they arrived at the Sanctuary, having been relinquished as part of a multi-agency rescue led by the RSPCA, which resulted in a prosecution for causing unnecessary suffering to animals.
Lio was the first to arrive. Lotte gave birth on Thursday 23rd April and we were delighted to capture the birth on film. All went smoothly and Lio was up and drinking within the hour.
Tulip was the second foal to arrive. Her mum Taylor is a beautiful skewbald moorland mare, who gave birth two days after Lotte, on the 25th April at 2am. Her birth was a bit more difficult, and the vet was called out just to make sure that the foal was healthy. Initially Tulip’s left fore leg looked a bit sore, and it took her a while to stand up and get steady on her feet. We also had initial concerns over Taylor’s milk supply, but Tulip was able to successfully suckle at 4.30am.
Fuzzy Bear gave birth on the 30th April at 10.30pm, marking a huge milestone for the charity as our 1000th rescue. To mark the occasion, we gave supporters the chance to name her. They chose Teyah, meaning precious and caring.
First few days
In the first few days, Lio and Tulip began finding their feet. During this time, they were beginning to develop a sense of smell, taste and touch.
However, for Teyah, the first few days of life were a worry. Fuzzy Bear’s foal quickly started to show the early signs of colic; tail swishing, being restless and agitated so we rushed her to the team at Western Counties Equine Hospital. Luckily, Teyah received the lifesaving treatment she needed and after five days of intensive care, she returned to the Sanctuary where she continued to be monitored closely.
Mixing with other youngsters
It is important for the foals to mix with other youngsters to properly socialise them and get them used to a natural herd environment. As they were all in the same herd when the mares arrived, Lio and Tulip were able to be turned our together once they had a couple of days with their own dam first.
Both Lio and Tulip proved just how confident they were by regularly chasing each other around the field. Lio would put his nose over the fence to greet the ponies in the adjacent field.
After Teyah had recovered from her stay at the hospital, she was slowly introduced to the herd too.
The first farrier visit
This training starts as soon as we start handling them. We begin by touching them all over their body with a gradual light touch. Our expert grooms make sure the foals are comfortable and confident to have their feet picked up and picked out. We introduced the farrier to the foals on several occasions, just to get them used to being handled before their feet could be trimmed.
Their first farrier visit was a huge successful with all three foals able to have their feet trimmed and picked.
The slow weaning process began at around six months old. The foals spent short amounts of time away from their dams in separate stables or grazing in an adjacent field. The time apart was then gradually built up over time. This process was made easier as the foals had the company of each other.
The mares move to Yelverton
After several months of weaning the mares were ready to make the move to continue their rehabilitation journey. Fuzzy Bear, Taylor and Tulip are now at our moorland rescue centre in Yelverton where they have recently been getting them used to wearing rugs.
The next milestone in their first year was training.
All three foals begun learning the basics such as leading and grooming and over the next few months, they will begin working on hose practice, loading and worming.
The foals will also begin regular walks down to the estuary to get the used to different surroundings.
Over the dark and cold winter, the foals have been stabled overnight. Now that spring has arrived and the weather is getting warmer, Lio, Tulip and Teyah are enjoying the fields at night.
For each foal we rescue, we need to be here for them for the next 30 years. In the future, we hope that Lio, Tulip and Teyah will all find loan homes with one of Sanctuary at Home Carers or will join our Education team on our Equine Assisted Learning Programmes. They will also have the safety of the Sanctuary for life.
Foal Fact File
Age: 12 months
Breed: Tri- Colour Moorland
Arrived: 23rd April 2021
Age: 12 months
Breed: Chocolate Dun Moorland
Arrived: 30th April 2020
Likes: The hose pipe
Age: 12 months
Breed: Skewbald Moorland
Arrived: 25th April 2020