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Abandoned foals saved by The Retreat Animal Rescue centre, High Halden

By Rachael Woods

Shocked, stunned and heartbroken – that’s how one animal rescuer described her feelings on seeing seven little foals found shivering in a field.

Fredericka Durham, who works at The Retreat animal rescue centre in High Halden, received a phone call about the animals who had been abandoned in a field in Marden, as overnight temperatures plummeted.

The sanctuary is full but Fredericka, who is known as Fred, could not ignore their plight.

Nova and Ember were just weeks old when they were abandoned
Nova and Ember were just weeks old when they were abandoned

“The moment I walked into that field I had a duty of care. I was shocked, stunned and heartbroken when I saw the foals.

“Those babies have obviously been ripped away from their mother and I wouldn’t like to think of the life they have had,” she said.

VIDEO: The foals are now at the rescue centre in High Halden

The foals, with fluffy baby coats, were just weeks old in some cases. A vet determined that the youngest was six weeks old when he was abandoned, along with the others, who are all male and below six months old.

Fred tries to engage with one of the nervous foals
Fred tries to engage with one of the nervous foals

Sanctuary staff rounded them up and when Fred wrote about their plight on The Retreat Facebook she was inundated with offers of help.

Fred said: “The foals are still terrified and untrusting. As soon as they got into our barn they went to the back and faced the wall.”

Two foals have now been taken in by a Berkshire-based animal rescue centre and have been named Nova and Ember, with Ember being treated by vets for a chest infection and conjunctivitis.

Both boys are now able to take special feed and hay from veterinary nurses.

Nova and Ember settle in at their new home
Nova and Ember settle in at their new home

One other foal is going to a good home in the county and homes need to be found for the remaining four, since their rescue on October 25,

Fred said: “What has happened to these foals is heartbreaking. They have just been dumped like a piece of rubbish.”

The Berkshire rescue centre has set up a crowdfunding page for Nova and Ember at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nova-ember

The Retreat only has capacity for around 40 horses but looks after 55 and says the crisis of abandoned horses is reaching epidemic proportions. To support the work of The Retreat or to find out more visit www.retreatanimalrescue.org.uk/

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