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Sometimes the horses and ponies we rescue are so unwell that the best outcome is not always the happy one. Zinnia and Cali came to us with a long list of health problems after they were found abandoned.

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary was contacted by a member of the public after they found two horses abandoned in one of their fields. The landowner was guided by the sanctuary and followed the abandonment procedure. When no-one claimed them the welfare team went out to assess the situation and check the ponies’ microchips. Their details hadn’t been updated and the police were unable to trace the owner.

As the pair came to us totally unknown the team gave them names – Cali and Zinnia. Cali, a palamino mare, was suffering with inflamed skin and muzzle burn. To make matters worse the field they were abandoned in was full of ragwort, a poisonous plant. It was clear that the team needed to bring the ponies to our Honeysuckle sanctuary for veterinary care.

When the vet examined Cali they found catastrophic dental problems and it was agreed she should be put to sleep as soon as possible to prevent any further suffering. When the team at Honeysuckle tried to separate Cali from her friend Zinnia they both became incredibly distressed. Zinnia also had severe dental problems and signs of liver disease bad enough to mean she did not have a good prognosis. It was then agreed that the most caring thing to do was to put them both to sleep at the same time.

Kindness and compassion are at the heart of the Mare and Foal Sanctuary. The team worked hard to ensure they were made as comfortable as possible and gave them dedicated care whilst they were with us. Bex Sherrell, Senior Welfare Advisor, said: “It’s always sad when we have to put a horse or pony to sleep. Sometimes it’s the kindest thing to do.”

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