A six-year-old girl is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for an operation on her beloved foal after he was born with a rare condition which left his face disfigured.
Little Maddison Biddlecombe fell in love with Diego despite his peculiar appearance 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, 33-year-old Janey Biddlecombe, refused.
Best friend: Maddison Biddlecombe didn't want Diego to be put down just because he has a disfigured face
She is now hoping to raise money for an operation by an equine dentist which is set 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 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.
Growing well: Diego has learned to suckle from his mother despite being born with Wry Nose Syndrome which caused him to have a bent nose and undershot jaw
'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, who keeps her horses in Southampton, Hants, 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, of Poole, Dorset, 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.
Read more: Maddison Biddlecombe in bid to raise £4,000 for operation on disfigured foal | Mail Online