Our Four Mares’ special day

We had a really important but also special day with our four new mares last week.
The chestnut, Seren, had a damaged hoof when she came to the Sanctuary and the split in it drastically increased overnight, so after consultation with our vet, we were advised she needed immediate treatment to prevent it damaging more and causing huge problems for her in the future. However, the vet would need a remedial farrier working alongside him to do the work once he had sedated Seren as the hoof required specialist treatment.
This news gave us a bit of a conundrum as to attempt to sort the mares’ feet was sooner than we had planned for the girls and we had been doing so well with them all in gaining their trust calmly and slowly……but obviously, needs must.
So after a bit of a discussion we decided, for the emotional wellbeing of all four, that we should attempt to do the feet of all of them at one time (as none of their feet were good!), rather than the other three seeing Seren taken off and sedated on her own. As the weather forecast was poor, it was also not sensible to work in the field, so we decided to plan a day in the barn for them together.
It took a bit of juggling but we managed to get a remedial farrier, Robin, and Brian, our vet, on site at the same time and considering that the ponies were going to have to be sedated for the foot treatment, we decided to also microchip and tetanus them too – in addition to a health check and measurement of height and weight of course. Goodness, what a day we all had in store!

After a planned route from the field was set up, first thing in the morning, we cajoled the girls into the barn and awaited the arrival of Robin and Brian. This gave them a nice period of time to settle in their new environment. The ponies were given oral sedation first (some were easier to persuade than others to take it, although mint and carrots seemed to do the trick) – Carys was the first to eat, then Seren, Lili and a very slow Eira.

Once the sedative had taken effect, we moved to putting on head collars. Again, as they are not used to wearing them, this was an interesting feat and one which required huge amounts of patience and more than a little bit of persuasion to get them on. But we did manage and it allowed Brian to intravenously sedate for the treatment.
All of the mares behaved impeccably throughout – at no point did they kick out or try to bite and considering that these were all new experiences for them, they were extremely willing patients.

Then the boys got to work with our list of wishes. We are delighted to say that it all went without a hitch…..

– All four mares have had a tetanus jab and microchip implanted.
– All four have had their height and weight measured.
– All four have had a feet trim – particularly Carys and Seren with their split hooves. A few chestnuts were trimmed too!
– All four have had a dental exam and an attempt at ageing them.
– All four have had their passport forms completed.
– All four have had their eyes bathed in warm water and cleaned.
Eira was the unluckiest of the four as we discovered unbelievably long fangs in her mouth which required immediate treatment – see photo! How she has managed with those no one knows and she must have been uncomfortable to say the least! So Brian rasped a few millimetres off the length to make them more comfortable for her which is brilliant.


The four remained in the barn for a couple of hours until they had recovered fully from the sedation and they even managed to have a few cuddles from the team on site. Even when they were coming round, the mares were up for much more affection than before – but of course, it is a matter of time to see if any of this has stuck.  Time will tell but it was astonishingly calm considering everything that had gone on that day.
Then late afternoon, we reversed the journey back outside and almost immediately, all three greys rolled, seemingly very happy with being back in their field.  They were given an afternoon feed to keep the routine in place and all four came over willingly to our head groom and accepted scratches, so they didn’t seem to be too cross with us!!
We are also pleased to report that the following few days have been wonderfully peaceful too – there doesn’t seem to be any soreness or resentment of their experience and they are as friendly as ever.

We knew when we welcomed them at Mane Chance that there was a lot of work to be done with these wonderful ponies but we also knew that they would be worth all the effort – and they are certainly proving it already. They obviously understood that we were trying to help them and they took all the new experiences in their stride – how very proud of them we are!
To consider the place these four horses were just a few months ago, to the milestones that they reached today is amazing. Thanks to all of the team who have spent time with them, who have shown them kindness so that they can trust. But thank you also to all of you who contributed to our four mares fund – your support has enabled us to take these steps and to give our four mares some of the care that they deserve.