Abandoned pony’s future goes from bleak to bright: ‘I’m so glad we’ve given him a chance’

  • A native pony abandoned in a field following the death of his owner now has a bright future ahead of him and has brought much-needed companionship to an elderly bereaved horse.

    Barley arrived in Blue Cross care after he was found in a farmer’s field in Somerset. Although he was microchipped, his original owner had died.

    The 14-year-old had to be gelded, and the charity then started the education that would allow him to find his new home.

    The team spent almost a year building Barley’s confidence and the pony started to thrive.

    “Barley was initially highly aroused and stressed by other horses, he would spend hours pacing the fence line just to be able to see and hear other horses,” said Blue Cross horse rehoming coordinator Lauren Bush.

    “He was reluctant to work with us at the start and he wasn’t opposed to trialling aggressive behaviour, understandably as he didn’t seem to be that well handled.

    “Initially we thought Barley may be too tricky to rehome, being a stallion for much of his life.”

    But, she said, once Barley was settled, he thrived in a quiet environment with a competent and sympathetic handler.

    “He was slowly introduced to other geldings one at a time, before slowly settling in with two youngsters before heading off to his new home,” she said.

    Barley has joined borrower Holly Gill and in doing so, has provided a lifeline to his new fieldmate, who had recently lost his lifelong companion.

    Holly started looking for a companion for 28-year-old Buzz when she had to had her elderly pony Cassie put down.

    “Cassie was also 28 when we had to say goodbye – we had her for 20 years too so it was a devastating time for us and for Buzz,” said Holly.

    “I’ve owned Buzz for 20 years so he is very special to me. He is a very friendly chap but can be a little apprehensive about change whether that’s a new water bucket or a new friend!

    “We have taken it really slowly with Barley and Buzz, once they were happy over a fence we put them in the field together.

    “I’ve noticed them spending more time standing close to each other and grooming, which is lovely to see.”

    She added that it has been rewarding to work with Barley and gain his trust.

    “The first time he let me catch him, or let me put a fly mask on it felt like we had really achieved something,” added Holly.

    “He is still very wary and it’s going to take a lot of time and patience for him to fully trust us, but I’m so glad we’ve given him a chance.”

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