A pony found dumped, emaciated and riddled with lice is now out competing, having been rescued by a groom from County Durham.

Becky Hill, 24, found the 12-year-old 13hh coloured pony on a road near the livery yard where she works on 13 March.

The pony was thought to have been dumped in a car park at a nearby fishing lake.

“I’ve never in my life seen a horse so weak and skinny,” Becky told H&H.

“He was so hungry he came straight to me. I only had a packet of Polos in my pocket but he ate them all.”

Becky rang her boss at the yard who bought a headcollar for the pony and then she went straight home to get her trailer.

She took the pony home and called the police and British Horse Society (BHS) to make sure the correct procedure was followed for her to become his official owner.

A poster was put up where the pony was found but no-one claimed him so Becky called her vet to microchip and passport the pony under the name “The Best Chance.”

Subsequent blood tests showed Chance had liver disease, thought to have been caused by being turned out in a field of ragwort. A coloured pony had been seen in locally in a pasture full of the poisonous (to horses) yellow plant.

Chance was a rig, which is also believed to be another reason for him being dumped.

On the second day of his arrival the pony was clipped out because he was covered with lice.

To help pay for his treatment Becky posted a crowdfunding scheme on her Facebook page to friends which raised £640 in a month.

The BHS has donated £250 towards the costs of getting Chance castrated.

Chance was backed and this month (3 June) went to his first competition at Bishopstone Equestrian Centre where he behaved “really well” in an intro dressage test.

“Even my mum’s ridden him and she hasn’t ridden for years. He’s staying with me for life now,” said Becky, who has four other horses, a 12.2hh Welsh section C, a 14hh Appaloosa cross, a 15hh “Heinz 57” who she has owned for 10 years and a six-year-old Irish sports horse.

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Latest blood tests showed Chance still has signs of liver disease but it is improving.

“It will just be time before he’s fully recovered,” Becky said.

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