Britain’s largest horse rescue charity has seen a welcome rise in rehoming figures.

So far this year World Horse Welfare has rehomed 250 horses, 56% more than in 2013 when only 160 were rehomed.

Pumpkin, a pony found in a dark small barn with a large group of horses, has found a new home with Sarah Hosford from Somerset.

“We needed a buddy for our thoroughbred who hates being left on his own. We wanted a pony who was quite hardy and didn’t mind living out in the field. When we found Pumpkin she was perfect,” said Mrs Hosford.

Pumpkin paired up instantly with the Hosford’s 16.3hh thoroughbred Stewart (both pictured above with a canine friend).

“She is tiny so she just stands underneath his neck — they fell in love straight away. It’s just so nice to know that we have been able to give her a safe home after what she has been through,” added Sarah.

Pumpkin can’t be ridden due to confirmation weaknesses but Sarah’s two daughters love to groom and plait her mane.

The pony’s previous owner was banned from keeping horses for 10 years and given a prison sentence after being successfully prosecuted.

When Pumpkin first arrived at World Horse Welfare’s Somerset rescue centre she had terrible feet, was very nervous and needed intensive handling.

She was put on a strengthening and physio programme to help her recover.

“We are incredibly grateful to our dedicated supporters who are helping horses by rehoming more,” said Tony Tyler, deputy chief executive of World Horse Welfare.

But he said “the sad news is that the number of horses needed urgent rescue and rehabilitation far outweighs the number we are rehoming.”

Last year World Horse Welfare took in 76% more horses than in 2012.

This year the charity is reporting a rise in the number of group cases that need urgent care.

For more information visit www.worldhorsewelfare.org/rehoming