Horse found abandoned in field so over-bred rescuers thought she was a cow

Minstral the horse was found in a field in Witham with a huge hernia which made rescuers believe she was a cow at first...

Minstral the horse was found in a field in Witham with a huge hernia which looked like udders, making rescuers believe she was a cow at first glance. - Credit: Remus Sanctuary

A horse named Minstral was first thought to be a cow when she was spotted by rescuers in a field in Witham - because she had a huge hernia which looked like an udder. 

Minstral, a 28-year-old mixed breed horse, was also found with white markings on her face. 

Sue Burton, founder and manager of Remus Horse Sanctuary, said Minstral's herniated belly was so swollen she initially believed she was saving a cow. 

Minstral the horse was found with a huge hernia and rescuer Sue Burton said she was "very down and depressed".

Minstral the horse was found with a huge hernia and rescuer Sue Burton said she was "very down and depressed". - Credit: Remus Horse Sanctuary

"When you look at her from behind, and I approached her from behind, with the huge hernia she looked like a cow with an udder," explained Sue.

"She was very down and depressed and at first we thought she might only have a few months to live but amazingly she has thrived and coped very well with the hernia."

A hernia is an abnormal opening in the abdomen, which causes a protrusion of organ tissues through the opening.

Minstral the horse is now getting on well at her new home at Remus Horse Sanctuary.

Minstral the horse is now getting on well at her new home at Remus Horse Sanctuary. - Credit: Remus Horse Sanctuary

Hernias are typically accompanied with swelling on the horse’s abdomen, like with Minstral.   

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The discolouration on Minstral's face is caused by a skin condition called vitiligo, which also affects humans.  

According to Sue, the unusual markings around her eyes are believed to be the cause of her being over-bred.

Sue explained: "The markings are every unusual and made her so attractive for breeding."

The overbreeding is what Sue believes led to the hernia, which made her look similar to a cow upon first glance. 

Minstral the horse has been rescued after being found with a large hernia in a field in Witham.

Minstral the horse has been rescued after being found with a large hernia in a field in Witham. - Credit: Remus Horse Sanctuary

Minstral hasn't had any operations for the hernia due to its size, but not long after she was taken into the sanctuary, she had a weepy eye.

Soon, the eye blew so vets removed it.

Despite this, Sue said Minstral has completely settled into the sanctuary and described her as a "lovely mare" who has a "gentle temperament". 

She has now been given a second chance with the help of Remus Horse Sanctuary in Ingatestone. 

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