Star, a small brown foal, made newspaper headlines after he was found suffering from deep wounds to his face and head and his owner was prosecuted for animal cruelty offences. He has now been found a new home thanks to World Horse Welfare and is our Rescue Horse of the Week.
Sadly Star will be left from some scarring and damage to his facial bones from the head collar that had been left on for so long that it had become deeply embedded into his face. Swollen and encrusted with blood, poor Star had been suffering for weeks as the head collar tightened into his flesh and bone as he grew.
After surgical removal of Star’s head collar and extensive rehabilitation at one of World Horse Welfare’s four Rescue and Rehoming Centres, Glenda Spooner Farm in Somerset, he is now a happy, healthy young horse who can lead a normal life.
The World Horse Welfare field officer, Nick White, who was first called to Star’s aid alongside the RSPCA, describes Star’s condition back then as “the worst kind of neglect.” His owner, Pascale Musk, was charged under section four of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 with failure to adjust or remove the head collar which led to Star’s injuries. She received a three-year ban from owning or keeping horses.
Once Star had undergone extensive rehabilitation with vets and World Horse Welfare’s expert team and was ready for his new home, applications came flooding in. He has now been successfully rehomed with 22-year-old Charlotte Shepherd.
“I heard about this case in the local news and had followed it from the start. I just couldn’t believe anyone could do this to any animal, let alone a foal. I thought to myself, I can actually give this pony a home – I’ve got the means, the space and the land,” Charlotte says. “The story made my heart bleed so much – I just couldn’t help offering him a home.”
Charlotte had to wait until Star was well enough for rehoming, so checked in World Horse Welfare every Wednesday for five weeks. ” I was actually the first person to apply for him which was really nice because I know a lot of people would have wanted to take him in. It just so happened that he and I were well matched. If I go to the field to catch him, he comes to call. Considering what he went through, it’s amazing that he still has trust in humans. I think it just goes to show what a little TLC will do – he cannot get to the gate quick enough. When I look at him now, I just think that his treatment was so avoidable – he didn’t deserve to go through such pain. It makes me mad that someone could have allowed Star to go through so much trauma when he was so vulnerable.”
Star is now fully settled into his new routine his adoring new owner. “He’s in his new little rug now and he thinks he’s the business! He’s so happy,” Charlotte explains. “You can tell because when I first met him he was nervous of me because I was a stranger. Now that he’s in his new home and we’ve spent time together he’s not fazed by anything and happily eats at the hay with my three other horses. He’s my little superstar.”
It’s Star’s chance to shine this year as he’s the focus of the charity’s special Christmas appeal ‘Happy Ears’. The appeal encourages the public to give what they can to help the many horses who will need rescue and rehabilitation by the charity this winter. If you can help by rehoming a horse or pony please contact World Horse Welfare.
Find out more about the appeal here