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Foster home for pony found with horrific leg wounds


Elsa, a pony dumped with horrific leg injuries has finally left our specialist equine centre in County Durham after almost a year of care.

Elsa the pony

Two-year-old filly Elsa was discovered abandoned on a remote lane in Tyne & Wear on January 15 last year. She was found suffering with wounds on her back legs so deep her muscle was exposed.

A stunned member of the public called us, before taking Elsa to their own stables to keep her safe. Inspector Jacqui Miller rushed to the scene and called a vet immediately after she saw Elsa ‘suffering with the worst injuries I’d ever seen on a horse.’

Thanks to painstaking round-the-clock care by staff at the vets and RSPCA Felledge Equine Centre - our specialist equine centre in County Durham - Elsa survived. 

And a year after being rescued, this resilient little pony has found a foster home with Katharine from Tyne & Wear.

Elsa is now healed and happy

Katharine, who has two horses called Chico and Honey, said:

To see Elsa now, you would never believe she went through such an ordeal, she is a happy little thing, and her legs have healed so well you’d never tell she suffered so much. The team at Felledge have done a wonderful job with her - they even took her to Equifest last August where she won Rescue Pony of the Year.

Elsa, named after the Disney princess because of the frozen weather at the time, was given strong painkillers and examined by the vet, who discovered that the wounds were not fresh. The damaged skin was rotten and badly infected.

It is not known how Elsa suffered her painful injuries but the vet predicted that her wounds were at least three days old.

Treatment and recovery

Elsa before

The team at our Felledge Equine Centre worked around the clock to dress Elsa’s wounds with a special solution to create a barrier that prevented further infection.

Elsa’s road to recovery continued to be a bumpy ride. As her wounds started to heal, the skin became tight and sore, and once she began to go out into the paddock, the staff noticed she was also lame. X-rays revealed poor Elsa was in fact also suffering with ‘laminitis,’ causing the painful rotation of the pedal bone in one of her feet - another serious condition for the young pony to overcome.

The team at the centre were inundated with kind message from people who were anxious to hear if she continued to progress.

Several months of specialist treatment and remedial shoeing followed and Elsa bounced back against all odds and has now found a foster home - her first steps to a fairytale ending, just like her Disney namesake.

Settling into her new life

Katharine said: “Elsa settled into my yard so quickly, and she’s so cheeky, she’s really livened up the place. I was looking for a companion for my sprightly 24 year-old horse Chico, as my Exmoor mare Honey who’s 23 prefers to take life in the slow lane. Elsa has been ideal, she’s just a calm little pony and takes everything in her stride.

“She’ll be a little small for me to ride so I hope to have her here with us until she’s ready to be backed in a year or two, and then I know she will go onto make somebody somewhere a really super little riding pony. For now, she’s happy enough pottering about being cheeky. She’s into everything, her favourite thing is to follow me into the feed room, I’m always shooing her out”

Proud of the resilient little pony

The team at Felledge were sad to see Elsa leave the yard, after so many months of intensive, one-to-one care and treatment, but are delighted she has settled in.

Yard manager, Lisa Paulin, said: “We couldn’t be happier that Elsa has settled in so well with Katharine and her horses. When she was first rushed here this time last year, suffering so much from her wounds, we really couldn't have imagined her story would have such a happy ending. Her extensive treatment and stabling her here at Felledge for those ten months cost in the region of £2,000, plus the cost of stabling her which is roughly £12 per day.”

Elsa is one of many, many ponies cruelly abandoned in this country and her story is a prime example that even with the most terrible of injuries, animals can be determined to bounce back against all odds.


Help us continue to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals just like Elsa, by visiting our #LoveAnimals hub, reading some touching love stories and finding out how you can support our work.

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