Haggis was found with hooves that were so neglected he was unable to walk properly. Today, he is enjoying a wonderful new home and has even completed a fundraising walk to raise funds for other horses in need.
Haggis was found riddled with lice, grossly overweight and showing signs of laminitis. His feet had been left untrimmed for so long that they had curled up and forced him to walk on his heels.
As far as staff at the British-based charity World Horse Welfare could tell, Haggis hadn’t walked properly for years.
The charity’s farrier, Donald Nicol, assessed the neglect that the Shetland from Aboyne, Scotland, had faced.
“His feet were curled right up with so much growth that he was walking right back on his heels. This forced him to roll his feet over onto the outside and made him twist his leg outwards. This put a great deal of pressure onto his legs, causing extreme soreness.
“It wasn’t just his feet that were affected; the problem meant that he had large muscle build up above his hocks because of the way he had to walk to compensate for having his feet so long.
“It caused him suffering all the way up his legs, via his tendons, ligaments and muscle structure; it puts a big strain on all of the components of the leg.
“Once I had trimmed back his feet, it still took him a long while to get used to walking normally again. His feet had probably never been trimmed, so we had to give him pain relief to help him get through that until he got better.”
Haggis embarked on the road to recovery, during which he slowly learned to put his trust in humans.
Haggis was found with two pony friends who had also suffered terribly. One had to be euthanised.
Ramsay Duncan, a local veterinarian from Woodside Veterinary Group in Aboyne, examined Haggis when he first came in.
“He was grossly overweight, a body score condition of 4 and a half, with 5 being grossly obese; you could barely feel any ribs. We needed to manage his diet carefully, so that we could gradually get his weight down. We needed to avoid high-risk laminitis.”
The reborn Haggis has even been mingling with royalty. He met the Princess Royal at the charity’s Belwade Farm with Chloe McCutcheon, from the Moray area, who has given him a new home.
McCutcheon had visited World Horse Welfare to view the horses in need of a new home.
“When I saw Haggis I fell in love with him straight away. He was the perfect companion.”
Haggis is now known as the nanny on Chloe’s yard and has even partaken in a sponsored walk for us to help raise money for more horses in the charity’s care. He also won a rosette at a show he attended.
McCutcheon is thrilled to have Haggis complete her family, she says.
“Haggis has been a fantastic companion; they have so many benefits to your yard and just because they are a companion doesn’t mean to say that they’re not used. Haggis has a job. His job is to be a nanny when he needs to be, lead youngsters in and out of trailers – they are the general reliable type on the yard.”
McCutcheon recommended rehoming a horse, saying World Horse Welfare had been helpful throughout the process.
“The staff are very honest about the horse’s backstory and what might be right for you … you just tell them your requirements.”
Haggis’s original owner was prosecuted and banned from keeping animals for life.
World Horse Welfare is promoting Rehome a Horse Month. Is takes place throughout April across the country and gives the public a chance to offer a loving home to horses who have had a bad start in life – and in turn make space for the ones in desperate need of help. More information can be found at http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/rehoming/