Does your equine companion have what it takes to be rescue horse or pony of the year?

The RSPCA and PRP rescue horse/pony of the year competition will be held at this year’s Equifest (12-16 August).

The increasingly popular classes are now in their fourth year and will take place on Saturday 15 August at the Peterborough show.

“This competition is a celebration of the rescue horses and ponies who have been through incredibly tough times but survived and flourished thanks to the brilliant work of equine charities and sanctuaries,” said Cathy Hyde, who heads the RSPCA’s specialist equine team.

“It is a testament to those who have rescued and rehabilitated them and those who have given them forever homes, that they go on to recover and have happy, successful lives.”

The classes are open to rescue horses and ponies from all charities and equine rescue organisations.

Last year’s competition included entries from Blue Cross, the Horse and Pony Protection Association (HAPPA), Redwings and World Horse Welfare.

“When it comes to the judging of the classes, the horses and ponies receive marks allocated in relation to performance. However, more importantly competitors are asked to provide a written rescue history including before and after photographs which count for 30% of the marks,” said Ms Hyde.

“Previous winner’s stories have shown amazing transformations. From collapsed, emaciated or abandoned — these are the worst cases of neglect and are often so moving they have everyone in floods of tears.”

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There will be six in-hand and ridden classes for rescue horses and ponies. The top horses and ponies in each class will win a place in the championship class in the evening with the chance to be named rescue horse/pony of the year.

All winners will receive rosettes and prize money donated by main sponsor PRP Horsebox Rescue, as well as products and vouchers from Equine Essential Oils, Carr Day & Martin and Classic Collection Jewellery. The overall champion will also be presented with a bronze statue donated by RSPCA Bolton Branch.

Entries for this year’s competition close on 27 July.

Give a horse a home

The five-day event is also an opportunity for members of the public to meet horses and ponies who are currently looking for new owners.

“I’d encourage anyone thinking of getting a horse or pony to look at adopting one, there are hundreds waiting for new homes, of all shapes, sizes and breeds,” added Ms Hyde.

“We encourage visitors and competitors to Equifest to come along and meet some of our horses available for rehoming, who will be making a special trip to the event.”

A new display ring at the show will feature demos and parades, including a chance to learn about the ‘before and after’ lives of RSPCA rescue horses and ponies.

C&C Horse Transport, Boothroydan Transport and Victor Gache Horse Transport will be providing transport for the RSPCA horses to and from the event.

For more information visit: http://www.equifest.org.uk