Rescued: April 22, 2017
Perlita (which means "little pearl" in Spanish) was surrendered to us one Saturday morning by her Spanish family, who had visited during our April open day and begged for our help.
As our regular followers will know, we almost never accept horses like this, as we find many people simply try to dump their unwanted animals on us and we do not have the resources to cope.
But Perlita's case was very different. She was owned by a Spanish man from Los Montesinos who'd loved and cared for Perlita her entire life – she was literally born inside this man's house – but who was now very old and frail and could no longer care for her. With nowhere else for 22-year-old Perlita to go, we agreed to take her.
After her first veterinary and farrier inspection at our centre, it quickly became obvious that Perlita had suffered laminitis at some point during her life, which, while no longer active, had damaged her tendons. She's wasn't in pain but also couldn't walk as smoothly as she should, so we popped her on natural painkillers and began working slowly with our master farrier Enrique to lengthen her tendons and make her more comfortable over time.
She's wasn't in pain but also couldn't walk as smoothly as she should, so we popped her on natural painkillers and began working slowly with our master farrier Enrique to lengthen her tendons and make her more comfortable over time.
X-rays by our veterinarian Dorothea also showed that, while Perlita's tendons had retracted, the pedal bone was still intact and rotation wasn't too bad, and there was no sign of infection – all signs pointing to this being a manageable case.
Unfortunately, we've seen laminitis cases like this time and time again, especially with ponies. It's often caused by a lack of education, as people simply don't know how to feed these animals properly in Spain. There is very little grass for grazing here, so equines are often fed on high-carbohydrate grain diets and even white bread.
This poor feeding regime is often compounded by the fact that very few farriers here are properly trained on how to correctly trim horses' hooves and can end up doing more harm than good. Sadly, the end product is lame horses that end up here at our rescue centre.
We must stress that Perlita is happy and otherwise in very good health, and had an owner who loved her very much, though he quite possibly lacked knowledge about proper horse nutrition. That's is just one reason why we do what we do – to help educate people on exactly what correct horse care entails.
As a non-profit foundation staffed almost entirely by volunteers, we rely on your donations to continue our work to save ponies like Perlita, and to cover their ongoing feeding and care costs. Find out how you can help here.