The first few weeks following Liberty’s arrival were spent trying to entice her to eat hard feed. We had begun with some soaked grass nuts and chaff with some added soya a little at a time. At first she had no idea what to do with the bucket when it was placed in front of her. She would sniff, and taste a little, and then snake her head around looking for encouragement. Eventually, the curiosity got the better of her, and she would eat a little before it was taken away again. Little and often was key to ensure her digestive system adapted adequately to this new feed, and we had to take real baby steps. Visitors old and new flocked to greet the latest arrival, including a kind lady who had heard our pleas for help over the internet and followed Libby’s story avidly. She wanted to meet the famous filly and it was heart-warming that this precious little pony had touched so many hearts in a short time. The kind lady also made a donation towards Liberty’s feed and medical needs, a much appreciated gesture.
It wasn’t long however before Liberty began to show signs of illness. Her immune system was weak, and it was beginning to show signs of struggle. Soon a cough developed, and her nose was snotty. She was feeling low and we could all see it. Having ruled out the bigger contagious diseases such as strangles, it was decided with the vet to give her a course of antibiotics in an attempt to flush out any infections that may have taken hold. We also began soaking her hay to remove any dust or mould spores. The medication seemed to be exactly what she needed, and it wasn’t long before the cough had vanished and her nose dry. She was beginning to perk up.
The cold weather was also beginning to set in and this poor, sad-looking filly did not have a thick, warm winter coat. Her ribs, hip bones, and tail head protruded through her fine, downy fur. She needed protection from the elements. A stable was a totally alien concept to her so that was ruled out. Instead we began working to de-sensitize her. Using bamboo sticks with plastic bags attached we spent time rubbing them gently all over her body, getting her used to the rustling noise that turnout rugs can often make. She adapted so well to all these new experiences, never flinching or making a fuss, and with each of these de-sensitizing sessions not once was she tied up or restricted in any way, she wasn’t even wearing a headcollar. My friend (who now officially owned Liberty), still found it hard to look at her without the sheer sight being painful, but the knowledge that she was in the right place and away from her previous home was comforting to her. She and I spent time grooming her and untangling all the tight wind knots in what turned out to be a long, lustrous mane that even the best show ponies would be envious of. Soon we decided she was ready to be rugged, we needed to get her protected from the harsh weather quickly, but without rushing her. However she took to it amazingly. Within 15 minutes the new rug was on, it fit perfectly and she was an absolute angel throughout.
If there was one thing I was quickly learning about this pony, it is that she is the ultimate role model. Regardless of what torment and terror she has already endured in her short life, she always has a sunny approach. She accepts new experiences with an open mind and does not view everyone as though they will hurt her like others have. She is friendly, curious, and trying so hard. I think we could all take a lesson from this pony. And I for one am really looking forward to doing exactly that.
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