The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

Re Posting: Six Year Old Girl Refuses to Put Down “Ugly Duckling” Foal

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 22, 2010

I am re-posting this story from RT courtesy of  “true15” because of it’s “too true” quality. So many times, horses with extraordinary qualities, characteristics, and athletic abilities are passed over simply because of their color, a scar or two, or because their heads “just don’t fit the mold”. Ah, out of  mouths of babes…

Six Year Old Girl Refuses to Put Down “Ugly Duckling” Foal

R.T. Fitch June 21, 2010 News from the UK Telegraph

Every now and then a story comes along that touches your heart and reminds you why it is we do what we do.  This is just such a story.  The love and bond built between this little girl and her disfigured foal is unconditional and not tempered because the horse is not “perfect”.  Non-perfect horses are what feed the slaughterhouses and if more breeders held to the same sentiments that this tiny little equine rescuer does, then the World of Horses would be a much kinder and gentler place.  Please, wash out your mind, soul and heart with this touching tale.” – R.T. 

Maddison sees beyond Diego’s appearance and loves him for who he is – Photo by the UK Telegram

Maddison Biddlecombe dotes on Diego and begged her family not to have him put down. Despite being advised by other horse owners to have Diego put to sleep, Maddison’s mother Janey Biddlecombe, 33, refused. She is now hoping to raise money for an operation by an equine dentist which is likely to cost £4,000.

Diego was born on May 12 with Wry Nose Syndrome, which caused him to have a bent nose and undershot jaw. Despite initial difficulties he has learnt to suckle well from his mother and is happy, healthy and growing well.

Maddison said: “Diego is my best friend and I don’t care what he looks like, to me his face makes him special. He’s so lovely. We have a lot of fun playing games and he likes to chase me around the field. I love him lots and he gives me kisses and cuddles. People shouldn’t say he should be put down because of what he looks like, it doesn’t matter to me. My friends really like him too and we have so much fun feeding him. He’s the best horse ever.”

Mrs Biddlecombe, of Poole, Dorset, who keeps her horses in Southampton, sought advice online from others on the New Forest Equine Directory forum and was shocked by some responses. She said: “I asked for help and advice but some people have been unkind and told me to put him to sleep. Maybe it’s an easy way out but not for me. I don’t agree with putting him to sleep just because he looks different. It was a struggle the day after he was born but he’s come on leaps and bounds and is doing fantastically. Maddison adores Diego and has formed a great bond with him. They have even been found cuddled up together asleep in the field in the sun. He certainly knows he’s loved. He’s a fighter and I am willing to do everything and anything for him – whatever it takes to make sure he has a happy, normal life. When he’s bombing around the field he’s so happy and there’s no way I could put him down – not unless he’s suffering, but not just because he looks different.”

Mrs Biddlecombe said her mother had been a great help as Diego is kept in her field. She said the RSPCA were happy with Diego but accepted that the colt could have problems when he starts grazing. She said she hoped any difficulties could be cured by surgery and the family would be devastated if they had to have him put down.

Mrs Biddlecombe added: “We would be heartbroken but we will do all we can for him and let him know he was loved and cuddled and kissed.”

Wry Nose Syndrome causes the upper and lower jaw of a horse to grow to one side. 


9 Responses to “Re Posting: Six Year Old Girl Refuses to Put Down “Ugly Duckling” Foal”

  1. Barb3000 said

    He looks like a little riding animal in one of the Star Wars films. May the force be with him always.

  2. He looks magical.

    Maddison you are beautiful inside and out.



  4. Yvonne O'Neill Imperiale said

    Diego is beautiful and Maddison is wonderful! A happy story. i wish Diego were mine. Yvonne

    • Yvonne,
      Welcome to TMP! Yes, he really is beautiful. Madison is 6 years old… I find it truly ironic that adults so often dismiss the ideals of children and yet – as Madison and her 6 year old wisdom – has shown so many adults that their ideals just might be wrong.

  5. sandra longley said

    What was wonderful is that Fitch was able to connect this family in england with folks in the united states who have been able to succesfully raise a foal like this, what you cannot see from this angle is the head is curved in a S shape, can be seen from the frount and is progressive..The heart of a child, and the love of a just chokes me up..the best of luck!

  6. maryam said

    more grown ups in this world need to think like this 6 year old girl!

  7. reveil39 said

    Really really wonderful story. Very inspiring.

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