Heartbreak as Riding for the Disabled ‘wonder pony’ put down aged 30

  • A “wonder pony” who “loyally” served the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) for 11 years has died in retirement aged 30.

    Welsh section A Henry retired to the Horse Trust from the Scropton RDA group in 2018, having helped teach children from “all walks of life” to ride and drive.

    The skewbald gelding was known as a very versatile pony who was able to “turn his hoof to anything” from jumping to mounted games to barrel racing. He was also a “top fundraiser” for the group and was also used for lessons for able-bodied riders, in return for donations to the centre.

    Those who cared for Henry at Scropton said he was “the one pony who always wanted to travel at 100mph and his age had never slowed him down in the slightest”.

    They added: “This aside, his gentle character and loving nature made him a firm favourite with riders and grooms over the years.”

    On retirement, Henry arrived at the Horse Trust “more like a five-year-old than a 27-year-old”.

    “He was absolutely full of beans and couldn’t wait to get out in the field with his new pals. He did not look a day over 10 when he arrived, and he retained his youth and vigour right until the end,” said a Horse Trust spokesman.

    “Despite his oodles of energy, Henry took to retirement like a duck to water and became a firm favourite among the grooms. He would meet his groom Charlotte at the gate waffling away for his scoop or spot her from across the other side of the field and come trotting up.”

    The spokesman said “wonder pony” Henry was extremely sociable and loved the company of the grooms and other horses alike.

    “He spent a lot of time with a fellow RDA pony called Ellie, who also arrived in 2018,” he said.

    “They really did form an unbreakable bond so we have been keeping a particularly close eye on Ellie to check that she is coping with Henry’s passing.”

    Henry suffered from PPID (Cushing’s) and hind limb arthritis which was being “managed well” with regular pain relief, but a few weeks ago the gelding fractured his jaw in the field.

    “We still do not know how this happened and it was picked up on an X-ray when the grooms noticed that he was struggling to eat,” said the spokesman.

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    “He initially responded really well to treatment and seemed to be managing the pain but during the last week he became more and more uncomfortable, and we were struggling to safely manage the obvious pain and discomfort he was in. It was then that we knew it was time to say goodbye.”

    The spokesman added that the charity was very proud to have given the “lovable” pony three “blissful” years of the retirement he deserved after all his years helping his community.

    “He will be missed more than ever by everyone at The Horse Trust as it was always a pleasure to see him strutting his stuff with his best pal Ellie by his side. Don’t worry, we will look after her for you Henry,” he said.

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