A pony called Elf is one of many animals saved by RSPCA inspectors this Christmas.
Elf was one of three ponies that strayed onto a road near the village of Denham in Uxbridge in Middlesex.
RSPCA inspectors were called in by police to help round up the ponies which were completely unused to humans. They could not get within 30 feet of two of the ponies but the third, a small, dark bay colt was suffering from head wounds and easier to catch.
RSPCA inspector Leanna Rice said: “He was very nervous, but had a sweet temperament and soon realised we meant him no harm.
“It was clear no-one had been caring properly for these ponies because Elf had a rope halter on that had become too small as he grew and had cut deeply into his muzzle, cheeks and forehead.
“His worst wound was covered by his forelock but this is so bad that there is a hole through to his sinuses.”
“He must have been in unimaginable pain every time he took a breath and that is probably why he was caught relatively easily.”
Elf was taken to the Royal Veterinary College* equine hospital where his wounds are being treated and he is expected to have an operation once he is strong enough.
It is estimated that his treatment will cost around £5,000.
The RSPCA has more than 600 horses in its care, but only capacity for 120 in its centres. The others are cared for in private boarding increasing costs to more than £3 million a year.
All of the major equine rescue and rehoming organisations in England and Wales are under immense pressure due to the increasing number of horses and ponies needing their help.
If you have any information on who Elf’s owner is please call our inspector information line in confidence on 0300 123 8181.
To help the RSPCA investigate cases like this, text HELP to 78866 now to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).