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

Redwings is caring for a foal found collapsed in a pile of rubble in Essex.

Barney, as he’s been named by Redwings staff, was discovered abandoned at the beginning of December.

The poor colt – thought to be around five months old – was emaciated underneath his thick coat and had pressure sores all over his body.

Jo Franklin, Redwings Senior Field Officer and Ada Cole Centre Manager, said: “Little Barney was in a very poor state when he was found, and we were worried his might not be a happy ending.

“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 managed to get him on to his feet and warm him up, and I transported him to their Equine Veterinary Hospital where he stayed for two weeks.

“He couldn’t stand unaided and had a significant worm burden which he was treated for.

“We’re very grateful to House & Jackson for their excellent work with him.”

He was moved to Redwings – the UK’s largest horse charity – 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.

“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.

“The poor boy also had very itchy legs and has been 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.”

Nicola added: “This is why we all do this.”

Despite an RSPCA investigation, no owner could be identified, and Barney has been offered a forever home at the Sanctuary.

Last year Redwings took in 109 horses and ponies, including Barney. Redwings’ field officers identified and intervened in 175 cases in 2022, improving the conditions of 622 horses through advice to owners or the removal of the equine into their care.

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

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