A 6-year-old thoroughbred who was rescued from Spindles Farm in 2008 has won his first dressage competition.

Duke, a 16hh black gelding, was removed from the Amersham premises and taken to The Horse Trust along with 13 of the 115 horses that survived one of the worst equine welfare cases ever seen in the UK.

He began to recover, but developed sarcoids on his left eye and had to travel to the University of Liverpool’s Equine Hospital to undergo specialist treatment. He then went on to suffer recurring bouts of colic and had to undergo life-saving surgery at The Royal Veterinary College.

Despite these set-backs, Duke was nursed back to health and is now enjoying active work.

He took part in his first ever dressage competition at Widner Equestrian Centre last month, with the Trust’s resident trainer, Jane Calvert. He won his class on a score of 59%. He also took part in the clear round jumping.

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Jeanette Allen, chief executive of The Horse Trust, said: “We are so proud of all that Duke has achieved despite his tough start in life. We hope that this will be the start of a promising career for him and that he will go on to represent The Horse Trust in many more shows.

“Duke’s health problems mean that he can’t be rehomed, but he is assured a happy and secure home at The Horse Trust for the rest of his life.”

To find out more and support the charity, visit: www.horsetrust.org.uk.