Norfolk provides sanctuary to foal rescued from river

Stephen with members of the London Fire Brigade.

Stephen with members of the London Fire Brigade. - Credit: Archant

A small foal rescued from a river in East London has been offered a home at Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Norfolk.

Stephen arrives at Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

Stephen arrives at Redwings Horse Sanctuary. - Credit: Archant

The foal was found by a member of the public on April 19 in a stretch of the River Lea in Essex.

The person called the RSPCA, who attended with three fire engines and 14 firefighters, as well as officers from the London Fire Brigade who carried out a delicate operation to rescue him from the river.

The animal, named Steve and later Shaking Stephen after he began shivering, was wrapped in blankets and taken to the the Galley Hill Equine Surgery in Waltham Abbey where he was treated for hypothermia and given early stage milk.

Resident vet Andrea Smith, said: 'The river ran by a waterworks. We have no idea how he ended up there, but there was no sign of a brood mare, so we suspect that, sadly, he may have been put there.

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'He is doing very well, considering. He's a really sweet, healthy foal and we hope he'll be able to go on and have a lovely happy life. He certainly deserves it, he's an absolute delight.'

The surgery attempted to pair him with a surrogate mare, but when Stephen showed no interest, they approached Redwings Horse Sanctuary, based at Hapton.

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Senior welfare coordinator for Redwings, Rachel Angell, said: 'More and more often we are seeing young colts like Stephen being deliberately abandoned as their value is so low and yet so many continue to be bred who are just not wanted.

'In Stephen's case it is looking increasingly likely that this was deliberate as no owner has come forward.

'It is heart-breaking that anyone could do something so cruel.

'His rescue really was a case of teamwork and we'd like to thank everyone involved for bringing him this far.

'We will give him the best start in life we possibly can, and hopefully get him recover from his ordeal as soon as possible.'

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