19 December 2008

Molly The Pony

Molly the Pony Molly is a gray speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when Katrina hit southern Louisiana. She spent weeks on her own before rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier and almost died. Her gnawed right front leg became infected; Kaye Harris, the owner of the farm, and Allison Denny-Barca, Molly's vet, went to Louisiana State University for help.

At first, Dr. Rustin Moore thought that Molly would have to be put down, but when he saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she did not seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her. She protected her injured leg. She constantly shifted her weight, and did not overload her good legs. She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic. Moore agreed to amputate her leg below the knee and to build a temporary artificial limb for Molly.

"Amputation is not commonly done on a horse or pony," said Moore. "The main reason is that adult horses are not very good at living on three legs because the opposite leg of the one missing usually fails." It would be a surgery that LSU veterinarians had never performed on a horse — amputation and the fitting of a prosthetic leg.

Successful Operation

In January 2006, Molly walked out of surgery on a temporary cast. By the time she received the first edition of her permanent prosthesis on Valentine's Day, she was moving about, even jogging occasionally and cantering as if she had no disability at all.

"The prosthetic device is amazing. Even without it, Molly does really well, but the prosthetic has given her a whole new life," said Barca. "And she asks for it. She's amazing. She will put her little limb out and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on. Sometimes she wants you to take it off, too."

After this operation, Molly spent her days at Pony Paradise and visits Barca's stable regularly on the Mississippi River levee for a physical check up and minor prosthetic adjustments. "While out on the levee, she usually doesn't try to get away from me," Barca said. "But occasionally she will drag your butt down the levee ... she'll tow you! It can be pretty bad when you can't catch a three-legged horse."


When Molly's condition continued to progress, Harris began to bring her to visit children's hospitals as a therapeutic friend to offer hope and comfort. Wherever Molly went, she showed people her courage and will. She inspired people and she had a good time doing it. "It's obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life," Moore said. "She survived the hurricane, she survived a horrible injury, and now she is giving hope to others."

After 3 years, the 19-year-old Molly not only survives and continues her job to make visitations to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centres. In April 2008, the Louisiana State University Press published a children book, Molly the Pony: A True Story. Now, there is website dedicated for Molly, Molly Foundation.


  1. This story has already been circulated over the Internet for quite a while. The article here is adapted from one published in a racing magazine - The Stretch, December 2-21, 2008, p. 23.
  2. "Molly The Amazing Pony." Author: Admin. User, Good News Daily (www.goodnewsdaily.com).
  3. Guttner, Ginger. "LSU Highlights | LSU School of Veterinary Medicine Performed Rare Surgery on Hurricane Survivor Pony." LSU Office of Public Affairs, Fall 2006 (www.lsu.edu/highlights/2006/10/molly.html).
  4. Molly Foundation (www.mollythepony.com)


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