HORSE STORIES

Midnight, the Wonder Pony

Midnight is a beautiful little Shetland pony who came to the Equine Rescue League in February 2004. He is a wonderful example of the breed, with his finely shaped head, sweet nature, thick coat, and full mane and tail. He is solid black in color, with a large white star in the center of his forehead. Everyone who meets him, loves him, and he truly enjoys his human friends.

As wonderful as he is, Midnight’s life before arriving at the ERL was far from perfect.


Midnight

Not much is known about his past, but we do know that Midnight was abandoned in a field after his elderly owner passed away. It is possible that he was there for several years before anyone became aware of his presence. Fortunately, a gentleman noticed the neglected little pony, and contacted a local vet to have Midnight humanely euthanized. After examining Midnight, the vet was sure the pony could recover, and he recommended Midnight not be euthanized, but turned over to the Equine Rescue League for rehabilitation.

If you know anything about Shetland ponies, you know they are tough and sturdy creatures. However, even a Shetland pony needs regular care and maintenance. Midnight was neglected for many years, and his arrival at the ERL brought tears to the eyes of the volunteers.


Midnight upon his arrival at the ERL

Although he was in his fuzzy winter coat, it was clear he was underweight. His tail, mane, and the hair on his legs were matted with burrs. Most noticeable, however, were his hooves. His front feet were long and flat, and obviously in need of a trim, but his back feet had grown so long, they had curled up, over, and around, like ram’s horns, or elf shoes.

His diet had probably been poor, but another reason for his weight loss was soon discovered. Horse and pony teeth need regular filing, or “floating.” Due to lack of care, Midnight had developed severe, pointed hooks on his molars. These had impeded the chewing motion of his jaw, and had ulcerated the inside of his cheeks. Eating would have been a very painful and difficult process for him. Proving what a wonder he was, Midnight stood quietly for the dentist and required no sedation while his teeth were rasped, and the points clipped off his molars.


Closeup of Midnight's hind feet

Midnight was also well-behaved for the farrier, who carefully trimmed the flat hooves in front, and then cut away the curling elf shoes at the rear. Midnight was sore for a while, and because of the injury to his back feet, he spent several weeks wearing “booties” of duct tape, memory foam, and iodine pads. However, with regular trimming by the farrier, and careful cleansing and medicating of his back feet, Midnight’s hooves were well on their way to regaining a more normal shape.

Midnight has a way to go yet, but his feet are looking better all the time, and his weight and condition are almost normal. He could barely chew when he first arrived at the ERL, but now he finishes every meal with gusto, and loves to have treats of carrot, apple, and ginger snaps. The scruffy, skinny Shetland who could barely walk can now canter and play in his paddock, and his new winter coat is so healthy and thick he looks like a plush Christmas toy. He is truly wonderful, and everyone at the ERL loves him dearly!

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