Durban – While lashing rain, flash floods and rolling blackouts cast a blanket of gloom across the province this week, there was joy at the Coastal Horse Care Unit outside Cato Ridge with the birth of a foal from Freedom, the mare which was rescued from an 8m-deep pit earlier this year.
The unit’s stable manager, Anne Harland, confirmed that in the early hours of Thursday morning, as rain continued to hammer down, Freedom gave birth to “a baby boy”, saying the mare must have been pregnant when she was rescued from the pit.
Freedom, a feral mare, was spotted in the pit in the forests of Richmond on election day in May.
After they were contacted by a local person about the trapped horse, Coastal Horse Care put out a call for help on social media.
KZN community and emergency authorities responded immediately with Blue Security, Durban Metro Police Search and Rescue Unit, Pietermaritzburg SAPS Search and Rescue, DUT Advanced Life Support and members of the Waterfall Neighbourhood Watch and Richmond residents arriving to help the distressed animal.
A special A-frame was built above the hole to support a harness and the mare was sedated in a four-hour long rescue operation. As she was hoisted out, she was named Freedom and has since been stabled at the unit, being rehabilitated.
“When she was rescued, we didn’t know she was in foal and must have been in her first trimester.
“Over time she started to get quite rotund and I wondered whether we were overfeeding her,” said Harland.
“Freedom is known as our ‘pit pony’ and we’re all very excited. This is our Christmas miracle,” said Harland.
After the birth, Freedom underwent a three-hour veterinary procedure to remove some of the placenta which had not naturally cleared and was still being closely monitored yesterday.
“She’s a good mom and does not want to let the colt out of her sight. He’s a big strong boy. He’s bouncing around and is full of beans,” said Harland, adding the colt’s name was still to be decided.
Independent On Saturday