Lara learning to love life with your help

More than £8,000 raised for emaciated horse found on Essex hillside

An emaciated horse found on a dark Harlow hillside is getting stronger every day and an appeal to help her has already raised an amazing £8,200, with more than 480 people donating.


The RSPCA appealed for information after Lara, a red and white mare was found a month ago (14 April).image3.JPG


Lara was discovered just 40 miles from where Gizmo, the foal who was found dying by the side of the road in February, was found. She was tied up by a chain with every bone on her body visible in Canons Brook at 8pm.


Lara is thought to be around a year old and weighed 161 kilograms, less than half the weight she should have been.  She was so weak when she was found that she couldn’t stand on her front legs and had collapsed.


She was rescued by the same team as Gizmo, which as well as the RSPCA included the police and a vet, vet nurse and yard manager from Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic in Halstead, where she has received the best of care ever since.


Lara gained 6.5kgs in 21 days and continues to gain weight* but her recovery hasn’t been without difficulties.  She has had problems with very sore feet after her deformed and overgrown hooves had to be trimmed.  Vets at first feared she had had laminitis which could have damaged her bones.  However, this week X-rays revealed that Lara’s bones are fine and she is now able to walk without padded feet.


RSPCA inspector Sam Garvey said: “I was just utterly shocked when I saw Lara – she was just so thin that she was more or less a complete bag of bones. She was just crouched there on that hillside, terrified and trembling, chained to a piece of scrubland with no food or water.


“However, I’m now so pleased that she has no serious problems and is showing improvement every day.  She had bandages and pads on all four feet as they are still sore but we’re so thankful that there was no lasting damage to her bones.


“After eating she has to lie down and feels sorry for herself but then she picks herself up and is getting through it with the help of medication and her dedicated nurses and grooms.”


Carolyn Wyse, veterinary surgeon from Catley Cross said: “Lara has good days when she whinnies a greeting and looks really bright but she has days where she struggles and is a little down and quiet.


“Her feet were terribly overgrown and deformed from sheer lack of care but she is now coping without bandaged pads.  She has to stay in her stable and is taken out to grass by her grooms as her feet are just too sore to be turned out in a field.


“She also has some breathing troubles and a sore tummy, but is on medication and her diet has been specially tailored by Dengie horse feeds.


“We are very grateful to both the Rspca who have entrusted us with her care and also the general public who yet again have rallied and been very generous with donations towards her care via her JustGiving page.


“Unfortunately when young horses like Lara are neglected this badly they take so much care and so much time to get well again. We can’t wait for Lara to be well enough so she can be turned out in a field with Gizmo. We feel really lucky as a practice to have been able to nurse back Gizmo and now hopefully Lara to health. The only thing that’s hard is seeing them move on to be rehomed, I think that because they have no owners, we end up treating them like our own.”


Lara and Gizmo’s stories are sadly not uncommon. The country is currently in the grip of a horse crisis with the RSPCA and other horse welfare charities struggling to cope with the numbers of abandoned, neglected and abused horses. The RSPCA alone has more than 600 horses in its care and receives more than 400 complaints relating to horse welfare every week.


Like Gizmo, a Facebook appeal concerning Lara has already received an overwhelming response with many people asking how they can help. Those wanting to donate towards Lara’s care should visit


Any surplus funds will be used for the rescue and treatment of other equines in a similar situation.


Anyone with any information about how Gizmo and Lara came to be dumped so callously like this should call 0300 123 8018.


*Because Lara was in such a poor condition, the vets have to take it slowly with her feeding and build up her weight gradually.