Found on Dartmoor as an orphan, the Mare and Foal Sanctuary’s Ava made national headlines when she was first brought to their specialised veterinary and welfare centre, Beech Trees, in Newton Abbot. Ava received 24-hour, round-the-clock care from the centre’s experienced grooms, who feared the worst as the tiny foal deteriorated rapidly before being placed in quarantine. There, she enjoyed the company of a giant, stuffed teddy bear and as much love and affection as the centre’s grooms could give her.
Blood tests showed signs of pneumonia and Ava was still struggling to breathe, continuing to cough despite strong antibiotics, and she wasn’t gaining any weight. Thanks to the hard work of Beech Trees’ dedicated team, Ava slowly began to recover. After a long nine weeks, she was finally released from isolation.
Grooms were concerned that her period in isolation at such a young age might affect her social skills, but luckily she was even more resilient than they imagined, and had soon adopted her own herd of young fillies. Her groom, Charley Daines, said: “She has such a great personality and is a real tough little cookie. She’s been putting on weight and is growing rapidly. Ava’s still very young, so we’re just letting her find her way in the herd. It’s great to see her galloping round with ponies of a similar age. She spends every day with her friends Bambola, Ilyssa, Ida and Moonflower. They share a crew barn together and spend their days playing in the fields, with plenty of time spent sleeping. It’s exhausting having fun!”
Ava has also begun a very gentle training regime under her grooms’ watchful eyes. She’s now halter-broken and doesn’t mind having her feet picked up or being groomed. Sanctuary Director of Equine, Syra Bowden, said: “The future’s looking bright for Ava and eventually she’ll be ready to find a new and loving home. She definitely had us worried for a while, but she’s a little fighter. Watching a foal like Ava beat all the odds is why we do this job.”
Without the donations from supporters of the Mare and Foal Sanctuary, the continued care, treatment and training of equines in need, like Ava, wouldn’t be possible. Fundraising Director, Dawn Vincent, said: “Ava is still very young and will need the safety and security of the sanctuary for the rest of her life. It’s thanks to our incredible supporters and donors, who send in donations, spend money in our charity shops and volunteer their time to help, that we’re able to care for and provide permanent sanctuary to horses and ponies like Ava. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”
For more information, visit mareandfoal.org