A horse that was handed over to the Blue Cross three years ago because of “serious behavioural” problems has scooped the Veteran Horse Society’s top award, the Minty Memorial Trophy.

Twenty-one year old, black Irish, Bubba Bates, won the competition, as part of the society’s Supreme National Championship 2001. This year it was assessed on video because of foot-and-mouth restrictions.

The competition is on condition, turnout, paces and past history.

Blue Cross Field Officer, Claire Millington, said: “It’s a great accolade for the Blue Cross in the work it doesin equine welfare, showing rescue horses can have a new career after a difficult start in life.”

Bubba Bates, was signed over to the Blue Cross for “one last chance” with problems of rearing, napping and a “lack of enthusiasm for people”. It’s believed that these were a legacy of past mistreatment.

After six months at the Blue Cross rehabilitation centre at Burford, Oxon, the horse was ready to go out on loan.

Bubba joined the Candy family, which carried on the work started at the centre. He has since been successful in eventing, hunter trials, dressage, show jumping, side-saddle and showing.