Disbelief at what was on rescued foal’s foot

Our Field Officers never know what they will find when they attend a welfare concern. Little Tintin certainly took us all by surprise though!

Posted on 01/02/2023

Disbelief at what was on rescued foal’s foot

Tiny foal, Tintin, is facing a brighter, safer and more comfortable future after his recent rescue and arrival at World Horse Welfare’s Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Norfolk. But what the vets found on Tintin’s foot has left everyone at the charity in disbelief and makes it even more remarkable that he is expected to make a full recovery.

Field Officer Becky Bedson visited a field in Essex, after a concerned member of the public reported a foal with a piece of metal wrapped around its leg. Becky arrived to find a large snow-covered field, strewn with rubbish, with a number of horses in it including the mare and small foal that had been reported.

Although the mare was friendly, the foal was unhandled and extremely skittish and despite trying for some time Becky was unable to get close enough to check it out. Although it was obvious that there was a piece of metal attached to the leg, Becky could see that the foal was not lame, seemed to be moving well and there were no obvious injuries.

As it would be impossible to catch the nervous foal in a such a large field without running the risk of it running around and potentially harming itself further the decision was made to return with help, corrals, and sedative dart gun to enable the capture of the foal that would cause it the least stress.

“In the end we didn’t need to sedate the foal, which we discovered was a male and later named Tintin, as when we corralled him with Snowy, his friendly mum, we were able to check him out. Under the mud and long winter fur we were able to see what looked like a strip of metal around his lower leg and it was decided to move him and his mum to a nearby vets, as we didn’t know what we would find underneath once we removed the metal.”

Becky Bedson, Field Officer

Under light sedation the vets discovered and removed a complete tin can, fitted over Tintin’s foot like a glove. But there was disbelief when they realised underneath was a second complete tin can. Remarkably, when this tightly secured second can was removed it was found that somehow Tintin had escaped any serious injury. Vets estimated that the cans had been on the foot for a couple of weeks. Now released, it is expected that the foot will make a complete recovery.

“We don’t believe these tins were put on deliberately. Tintin is unhandled and doesn’t allow close approach, so we simply can’t imagine anyone getting close enough to do this. Perhaps he stepped on two cans that were already inside each other among the rubbish in his field?” 

Becky Bedson

Whilst all this was going on, an Abandonment Notice had been posted on the field, looking for Tintin and Snowy’s owner. After a set period had elapsed – and as nobody had come forward – Snowy and Tintin were signed over to us by the authorities and moved to Hall Farm in Norfolk.

During their assessment, it was found that both ponies were underweight under their dense winter coats, with overgrown hooves. Vet and farriery support and gentle care and careful feeding is helping them both to blossom. Tintin is rapidly becoming used to being handled and is beginning to show his playful side and, despite being tiny, is now believed to be around a year old. They will both continue with their rehabilitation with the Hall Farm team with the aim that they will be ready for rehoming in due course.

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