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Bransby Horses says a sad goodbye

15th October 2020

Bransby Horses, one of the UK’s largest equine welfare and rescue charities, has said a sad goodbye to one of its most-popular and well-known equines, Twiggy the Shetland pony.

Twiggy, a black Shetland aged 20, had been living in the care of Bransby Horses since 2002, when she was rescued by the charity after being found injured and foaling at the side of a road.

While her foal sadly couldn’t be saved, Twiggy received life-saving veterinary treatment and went on to spend a further 18 happy years in the charity’s care, becoming a firm favourite with visitors and staff alike thanks to her often mischievous and cheeky behaviour. She proved so popular, she was made a Sponsorship Star, that supporters could sponsor for £36 a year to help with her care, and that of her fellow 336 equines at the charity’s two sites.
As Twiggy grew older her health deteriorated and, at the end of last year, it became apparent that she was suffering from a number of age-related dental issues, with several large gaps, known as diastemata, forming between her teeth and trapping decaying food.

Sadly, despite receiving the very best care from Bransby Horses’ expert team, including regular dental treatments, her dental issues steadily deteriorated over 2020.

At an assessment earlier last month (September), it was clear that Twiggy’s dental issues were no longer responding to treatment, and there were concerns that the pain relief she was being given wasn’t having the desired effect.

Following this, and in the knowledge that Twiggy would struggle to cope this winter due to her dental disease making it difficult to chew hay, the charity made the difficult decision to euthanase her.

Michelle Craven, Team Leader (Visitor Centre) at Bransby Horses, says:

“Having spent so much time with Twiggy over the years, it breaks my heart that she’s no longer with us.

“She was simply the most wonderful Shetland pony you can imagine and became a firm favourite with our supporters over the years as one of our nine Sponsorship Stars.

“There are countless tales of her mischievous side, which she regularly demonstrated to staff and visitors at our Bransby site, and she will be hugely missed.

“While it’s never easy to say goodbye to any animal, our founding principle as a charity is to do what is best for the horse every time, and sometimes, sadly, this means putting a horse to sleep in order to avoid it suffering any further pain or distress.

“It fills me with happiness, however, to know that, thanks to the public’s generosity, we were able to provide Twiggy with 18 years of love and care, ensuring she lived the most comfortable and happy life possible while she was with us.”

Ahead of winter, Bransby Horses is also taking the opportunity to remind owners of the importance of proper dental care for horses.
Lara Gosling, Veterinary Surgeon at Bransby Horses, says:

“We know from speaking with owners that, in some cases, people don’t always keep to the same dental routine with older horses as they might for younger horses, and that unfortunately can sometimes lead to issues, such as dental disease, developing.

“Proper dental care is an essential routine for a healthy horse and can add a significant number of years to a horse’s life.

“To support owners, we’ve recently published some key advice on dental care, which can be found on our website.”
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