Ann Bishop, a retired teaching assistant ruled by her heart, rescued and fostered a beautiful mare called Lottie, now seven years old standing at 13.2hh. Although there is more to Ann’s rescue story than what she initially thought!
Ann has been riding since 12-years of age but hadn’t owned a horse for 10 years before getting Lottie. She had been helping out at her local RDA group, schooling and exercising the horses in between lessons for them but sadly the centre closed down. Ann had wanted her own cob for some time and the sad closure of the RDA centre put things in motion.
Ann set out to buy a bomb proof cob and wanted something around 10 to 15 years old, around 14hh and preferably coloured.
On a very cold damp February afternoon she came across Lottie in her search for another potential pony. Sadly Lottie was everything Ann didn’t initially want, she was young at around 18 months old, full of worms and covered in lice and totally emaciated. However Ann’s heart ruled her head and she just couldn’t leave her.
Said Ann: “When Lottie arrived at our yard in Cheshire, I led her to the stable and quietly thought to myself ‘what on earth are you doing, this is the last horse I would ever own and look at the state of her’. But there was just something about her that I fell in love with, plus if I didn’t buy her and give her the much needed time, care and attention that she so desperately needed I don’t think she would have lived much longer.”
On arrival, Lottie was so dehydrated she drank two buckets of water the second she was put her in the stable. Ann and her friend Jane tried to stop her, worried she may get colic through drinking so much in one go but they just couldn’t get her head out of the bucket.
Ann soon realised that Lottie must have had some physical abuse too, she flinched every time anyone went to stroke her and was also very head shy and scared of men in particular.
For the first two weeks Ann did nothing with her except clean out her stable, feed her and just stand with her. Said Ann: “I didn’t even groom her as the sensation of the brush bobbling over her bones was too much.”
Despite everything she had been through she eventually began to settle and actively liked to be around Ann and her friend Jane. Every day she would come and watch them poo pick the paddocks and stand in on conversations waiting patiently for a scratch and a stroke.
Ann went on a short holiday, leaving Lottie in the capable hands of her friend Jane whom owns the yard. Keeping Ann updated, Jane noticed that Lottie was starting to put a lot of weight on but only around her stomach. Ann’s initial thoughts were that Lottie could be pregnant, but she thought being so thin and poorly surely she can’t be.
Ann rushed back and called the vet out to check her over. Lottie was in fact pregnant.
Said Ann: “When I arrived at the field the next day Jane’s mares were going crackers, galloping around the field. I had no idea what was wrong until I got to Lottie, but there by her side was a tiny grey foal.
“He was tiny, wet through and shivering.”
Jane and her daughter Rachael were thrilled and helped with the midnight checks on them both. Lottie rejected her foal, named Harley, at first and wasn’t the best of Mother’s.
Said Ann: “But who could blame her, she was only a baby herself.”
After lots of time spent encouraging Lottie, she finally took to him.
Ann did very little with Lottie after weaning as she just wanted her to be a youngster for a while. She did a bit of ground work and took her for walks, and then when she turned four years old, Ann backed her. Ann had a riding instructor to help at the very beginning.
Said Ann: “Lottie has hardly ever put a foot wrong. She isn’t the bombproof cob I set out to get but is fairly steady and our confidence has grown together. In the summer I can ride in the field so I school and enjoy building obstacle courses.”
Harley has only made 12.2hh so he is too small for Ann, Jane and Rachel to ride so he is living the life of Riley as a field companion and thoroughly spoilt by all.
Said Ann: “I didn’t know exactly what to feed her but I knew that I wanted something that was a complete food for convenience. With this a lady at our feed merchants recommended Mollichaff Condition Complete.
“I am sure that feeding Lottie excellent feed before and after Harley was born played a big part in him surviving. With Lottie being in such poor condition I needed to know she was getting everything she needed which I did by feeding Mollichaff Condition Complete.
“Alongside other special feeds for lactating mares, Lottie stayed on Mollichaff Condition Complete until two months after the foal was weaned.”
“Now, through the winter we still feed Mollichaff Condition Complete to make sure they are getting enough vitamins and minerals”
“Lottie’s coat shine is always spot on thanks to Mollichaff Condition Complete.”