The Rollercoaster of loaning a Horse from the local Rescue Centre by Sian Jones

“Can I have a pony? I just want a little pony I can take for walks to the pub? Please?”.

And this is how it started! My eldest son wanted a pony to call his own, to take for a walk and have a pint in the pub! (He is 19 by the way!!) 

I already owned a Welsh Cob that I have had since he was 6 months old, BUT the child wanted his own. So, we started to look around and adverts started coming up from our local rescue centre; with several Carneddau ponies up for long term loan. These ponies roam in a specific area in North Wales and every year they round them up and any ponies not looking well or showing signs of ill health are taken to the rescue to receive the medical attention they need. They then try their best to re-home them…

Diddy when he first arrived at the rescue

So we went to meet Diddy, a little chestnut bundle of fluff, who was ready for a new home and lots of love. He was called Diddy as he was the smallest when he came to the rescue. Shock horror; my son fell in love with him and we said yes! After the home check was successful, he came to live with us in May 2021.

He settled straight away and was bullying the bigger horses even though he was so tiny!

The day we met him!   
The day he came home!

On Wednesday 1st December 2021, I found him lying down on his own in the field which I thought was odd. I started to walk him round to see if it helped as my first thought was colic. 

Vet came and diagnosed possible colitis, which was worrying especially in a rescue pony. He gave him pain relief, took bloods and tubed him with some medication to help his tummy. We stayed with him for a long time till he settled then went home not knowing if he would survive the night. It was the worst feeling leaving him there in the dark. Early next morning, feeling sick and dreading going to see him, he seemed ok. Brighter even. He had a walk, a graze but as soon as he went in the stable, he wanted to lie down and roll. Vet came again both in the morning and night. Bloods showed up an infection but not much else. 

Friday was the same, the vet advised if he doesn’t improve hospital would be the best option. Saturday came and he was worst, I cried as this little pony wasn’t getting any better and I feared the worst!

I lost it and broke down on the yard in front of everyone as I didn’t know what to do.

I also didn’t want to let my son see me lose it. I set about sorting him to go to hospital. We got him to Leahurst within the hour. It was horrible to watch them take him away, with covid, we couldn’t stay or even say a proper goodbye and not knowing if we would see him again, it broke my heart. 

At Hospital

With everything going on I had let things slip at home, I hadn’t seen my dogs for three days, barely seen my other son except for taking him to school etc and I had no food in.

The guilt was awful, I was torn between everyone. Son, dogs, work, home, life, family.

Now Diddy was in the best place I set about getting some supplies in.

As I am walking round Asda getting my shopping the vet rings with bad news. He was very poorly, on a drip, morphine and they were going to try him on antibiotics.

If the morphine didn’t work, there wasn’t anything available to give him, so it had to!  I sobbed in Asda’s Cereal Aisle. I told the vet if he took a turn for the worst during the night, please don’t let him suffer. It was heart wrenching, but I wouldn’t let the little guy suffer and I didn’t want them to wait to try and get hold of me. I sobbed and sobbed, but luckily, I had my covid mask on LOL!

The next day I received a call to say he had survived the night and was looking a little better! I couldn’t believe it!! They were happy with his progress and would call me the next day unless something happened. Again, the next day they rang, he was doing fine, and they were just going to carry on. I was gobsmacked at the little fighter!!! I found it so hard as so many people were messaging and asking me how he was doing. I couldn’t keep up but tried to let everyone know. 

My other horse was obviously noticing that Diddy wasn’t there, and it was horrible seeing his empty stable every day. 

We began to feel some hope that Diddy would be ok, however this was not the case. The vet called me to say his vein in his neck where he was having his drip had thrombosed. So, they had to use the vein on the other side only for that to do the same! It is quite common, poor Diddy was having to be watched carefully that the swelling didn’t get any worse, like go into his brain! He was fed everyday from a bucket balanced on a bale of shavings and his hay high up. Again, he was on a knife edge of us losing him! Another night was spent not sleeping, worrying, I couldn’t relax, couldn’t enjoy a gin at night to try and wind down and sleep in case I had to rush over and say my goodbyes.

It was an awful time.

I had my son worried about losing his pony, this boy who had lost both his childhood dogs due to old age in the last 18 months, his pet bearded dragon he had owned since the age of 9, and this little pony who had captured all our hearts was fighting for his life. 

I don’t know how but this pony survived the night and was allowed home! We had to keep his head up as much as possible and monitor the swellings. Honestly, he looked like a chipmunk who had stored all his food in his cheeks.

We were so happy to be getting him home!

Vets warned us that he had some damage to his colon, he had a high worm count and wanted to have him back in a week to complete some more tests and worm him. The danger was the worming as this could potentially be fatal.

We were overjoyed to bring him home and Merlin was so happy to see his little brother!  Vets decided after his bloods a week later he wasn’t quite back up to full strength so thank god he stayed home over Christmas. I was stressing out over getting him back to Leahurst on the 21st December, two to three days in the hospital then potentially getting him home on Christmas Eve! I hadn’t even done my Christmas food shop at this point! 

He went back into to Leahurst in the middle of January, very kindly my friend took him in her trailer with my son with them. I followed on behind as had something to do first. By the time I had got to Leahurst they had took him and put him in his stable. I never got to say goodbye. I popped my head round the door to see him and then cried. This could be the last time I see him. I wanted to kiss his face, play with his fuzzy forelock and say goodbye and tell him that I loved him. Sadly, I couldn’t and again I had to be strong in front of my son, “everything is going to be ok”. 

Everyday I waited for the call from the vets expecting the worst, but everyday came the call and they said “He’s fine. If anything is going to happen it will be 48/72 hours after the wormer”. Nothing. The little fighter was absolutely fine, showed no signs of distress or any issues!

When we finally brought him home for the second time, I just felt so happy and looking forward to our life with this little pony who’s character is larger than life.

Everyone who meets him loves him.

He is a nightmare everyday and full of himself and he drives me insane with his little Welsh sassy head toss! But I wouldn’t swap him for the world. I also know that when he’s being a pain in the ass he’s well and happy. 

Some more photos of Diddy as he is just THE BEST!

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