1. ITV Report

Orphaned foal rescued from Dartmoor after being found 'alone and terrified'

Ava is receiving round-the-clock care at the sanctuary. Credit: Mare and Foal Sanctuary

A tiny orphaned foal is receiving round-the-clock care at a Newton Abbot sanctuary after being rescued from Dartmoor.

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary say Ava, who is just a few weeks old, was found "alone and terrified" near the village of Lee Moor after her mother died.

Ava has been given a giant teddybear to keep her company. Credit: Mare and Foal Sanctuary

Though the foal is receiving care and medical attention at the sanctuary, staff say she is still having breathing problems and is being kept in quarantine.

We are doing everything we can to keep Ava comfortable. Losing her mother at such a young age would have caused her to deteriorate both physically and mentally. At just a few weeks old foals are reliant on their mother’s milk. So, we are feeding her every two hours around the clock. We’re all glad she was found and rescued. Now she just needs time and a lot of care.

– Sally Burton, Head of Equine

Though the young foal is receiving plenty of care, sanctuary staff say it's vital to set boundaries with young Ava.

Quarantine Manager Nicola Weall said:

"She is being bottle fed as we don’t hand rear. The bottles are attached to a feeder so she can help herself. It’s important she doesn’t associate us with her milk. We also set boundaries while handling her. We don’t want her to think it’s ok to try to climb all over us. Being overly affectionate to a foal can cause behavioural issues. When they get a lot bigger it can, in fact, prove dangerous."

The young foal is still undergoing tests and it's hoped antibiotics and regular feeds will help her recover.