Feathered fairytale: abandoned cob turned showing star qualifies for Royal International

  • A coloured cob found dodging cars on the roadside has transformed into a showing star and qualified for the Royal International Horse Show.

    Blue Cross Jack was taken in by the charity three years ago when he was abandoned in East Anglia.

    Police found him wandering along lanes while traffic tried to avoid him.

    The piebald stallion was signed over to the Blue Cross and he was taken to the charity’s centre in Burford, Oxfordshire.

    He was gelded and given a foot trim, vaccinations, a microchip and a passport.

    Jack was advertised for rehoming and Sheila Henry couldn’t believe her luck when she found him on the Blue Cross website.

    Credit: Sheila Henry

    “I came across this young man while pondering online about whether or not to have a second horse after losing my old mare of 25 years,” said Ms Henry.

    “He popped up as reserved and I was gutted. This happened twice but a little while later he popped up again and this time it was me who did the reserving!”

    Sheila took Jack on and introduced him to driving and riding. Her friend Lacey Smith now rides him at shows while Lacey’s father Andrew is groom.

    Credit: Sheila Henry

    Jack rarely comes home without a rosette and one of his biggest achievements of last year was winning the traditional gypsy cob of Britain class at the Royal London Show at Keysoe, Bedfordshire, in September.

    He has since qualified for Hickstead’s Royal International Horse Show (24-29 July).

    “In the two years that Sheila has had Jack he has represented Blue Cross in in-hand showing, driving and ridden showing, going from a green two-year-old to a winning show horse under saddle,” said Laura Pearce, horse rehoming coordinator at Blue Cross Burford.

    “We are so proud of them both for qualifying for the Royal International and will be rooting for them on 24 July.”

    Blue Cross recently offered Sheila the opportunity to take on the full ownership of Jack under its ownership transfer scheme. She jumped at the chance and has thanked the charity for allowing him to become officially hers.

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    “But actually, it is Blue Cross who should be thanking Sheila for giving Jack such a wonderful home,” added Ms Pearce.

    Blue Cross rehomes its horses and ponies on a monitored loan basis. Following a successful loan period, the ownership of some horses can be transferred to the loan home. This enables the charity to free up resources to take in more horses who need help.

    The charity has plenty of young quality horses and ponies like Jack who are looking for new homes. Visit www.bluecross.org.uk to find out more or to make a donation.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

    This week’s pony special, out 7 June, features Britain’s naughtiest ponies and how to find the dream smaller equine. We also look at the pros and cons of equine treadmills, talk to showing producer Aimee Devane and have reports from the H&H Festival of Eventing, Tattersalls Horse Trials, racing at Epsom and much more

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