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New Forest stallion Bullhill Major makes recovery after suffering multiple injuries in tree, after treatment by Seadown in Hythe

AN amorous New Forest stallion is well on the road to recovery after he became stuck in a tree for around three days, suffering multiple injuries which almost lead to organ failure.

Seven-year-old Bullhill Major was also suffering from severe dehydration when he was found, but now five months on from his ordeal, his wounds have almost completely healed.

Major and Suzanne riding in the New Forest before the accident (picture: Patrick Kempe)
Major and Suzanne riding in the New Forest before the accident (picture: Patrick Kempe)

Last June owner Suzanne Kempe had noticed Major had not been seen for a couple of days.

Suzanne, who runs a small New Forest pony stud and is a regular public speaker on the breed, thought he had gone to a cooler clearing, deeper in the forest.

However, a phone call three days after he was last seen confirmed Suzanne’s fears he had been injured.

Major was found straddled over a beech branch extending from a fallen tree with all four feet off the ground.

Part of the beech tree had to be cut away to free Major (picture: Suzanne Kempe)
Part of the beech tree had to be cut away to free Major (picture: Suzanne Kempe)

Horse riders who came across him alerted a local commoner and, with the help of a chainsaw, Major was released from the branch, and taken to Seadown’s veterinary hospital in Hythe.

While is it not known how he came to be in the precarious position, Suzanne believes Major could have been trying to mount a mare who then passed under the branch.

Seadown’s clinical director and equine veterinary surgeon Laura Trigg told the A&T Major did not initially present to be as unwell as he was – which she puts down to the “stoical” breed.

After blood samples were taken it was discovered he was suffering severe dehydration and close to the onset of kidney failure.

She said: “Due to Major being effectively hung from the tree branch, he had severe pressure wounds in his abdominal region.

“These wounds again looked benign, however it was quickly realised these wounds were extensive and deep, and the overlying skin tissue was dead and necrotising.

“This could potentially lead to a life-threatening septicaemia if inflammatory factors from the dying skin and muscle tissues was released into the blood stream.”

Major recovering at home (picture: Suzanne Kempe)
Major recovering at home (picture: Suzanne Kempe)

Major was given IV fluids, antibiotics and pain relief and, once well enough, the laborious task in removing the dead tissue and cleaning the underlying exposed areas began.

She added: “Major has such an amazing temperament that we were able to clean and debride his wounds without any sedation, which enabled Suzanne to take over a lot of the care at home.”

As Major was an otherwise fit and healthy pony, the regeneration of his skin tissue has been “remarkably quick” and once completely healed he should only be left with a small scar.

Suzanne, who called Major “a perfect patient”, credited the natural healing properties of aloe vera and manuka honey with helping his recovery.

She said: “Five months on, his wound is very near to being completely healed.

“Luckily Major was very fit and therefore able to fight off any possible infections with no need for antibiotics after the first nine days.”

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