As the Mare and Foal Sanctuary makes an urgent appeal for homes, and rescue centres across the UK are bursting at the seams, here are six horses and ponies Rachel Fraser discovered proving why rescues rule…
Rescued by the Mare and Foal Sanctuary, Lexie was just four-months-old when she was hit by a car on Dartmoor and abandoned by her mum, which left her terrified of moving vehicles. Fortunately, her rehomer Mandy Hayley saw that the biggest challenges brought the best rewards.
Mandy explained: “I just knew she was misunderstood. You could see the kindness in her eyes. She just demanded respect and I suspected she would show it in return.
“It took years before Lexie could let a car pass without her shaking with fear, but with time and patience we got there in the end.
“Lexie has taught my three grandchildren to ride, it has been a wonderful experience for them.”
Redwings rescue Molly, a Thoroughbred cross, was rehomed to her guardian Jess. Together, the pair have gone from strength to strength, competing in novice level team chasing (not for the faint-hearted!), dressage and showjumping as well as representing Redwings in rescue classes at Equifest last year.
Zeus arrived at Bransby Horses with a severe lice infestation and was still entire, but his loving nature shone through and he became a firm favourite with staff and his rehomer Ellen.
Ellen said: “When I first read Stanley’s story on the Bransby Horses’ website, I instantly fell in love with him. He was looking for a relaxed retirement home and I already had Oscar, an old Shetland, who was looking for a friend.
“Stanley came to live with us in 2015 and they instantly got on very well. Oscar seemed to know that we needed to look after Stanley. They were inseparable — they enjoyed going for walks, talking to everybody that came to the yard, and more importantly eating!”
Rehomed from the RSPCA, Louie instantly caught rehomer Tommy’s eye: “It sounds crazy but I was just so sure about him, I phoned straight away and spoke to a rehoming officer, arranged to meet Louie, and that was that!
“Before I knew it he was home, and all those expensive event horses I had tried out before were out of my mind forever.”
Tommy started Louie’s in-hand training, taking him out showing and teaching him to work on the lunge.
Tommy said: “As Louie gets a little older and more confident, I will look to start backing him, and my hope is that he’ll blossom into an amazing little riding pony for my niece. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for us both!”
Lucas was discovered at just 10-months-old in a freezing field with his emaciated mother and rescued by World Horse Welfare. Fortunately, he thrived in the charity’s care and was ready for rehoming as a two-year-old, which is when he met rehomer Colleen.
She said: “To be honest, it was love at first sight! I was searching for a horse that would be a general all-rounder and happy to compete across various disciplines. I wanted a youngster who seemed bright, curious and willing to learn.”
Colleen started his education under saddle and from there they went from strength to strength.
“Lucas and I take part in everything; hes been very successful in the working hunter ring, always jumping fabulous clear rounds. We’ve made our British Eventing debut with two BE80 runs and last year he participated in his first ever TREC competition where he went on to win his section at the Scottish Championships.”
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I couldn’t write this article without mentioning my very own rescue, Billy. A Quarter Horse who we rescued from slaughter while living in France, and he made the journey to the UK with us when we relocated. Now almost 22-years-old, he is still my horse of a lifetime.
Despite being unbroken when he first came home and me being a small child, he became a fantastic all-rounder, taking me to the Trailblazer finals, winning school showjumping leagues and patiently tolerating many a fancy-dress costume over the years.
Could you offer a home to a rescue horse, pony or donkey? Find out more on the relevant charity websites:
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