A pony who was rescued from a sewage-filled ditch two years ago is thriving after being given a second chance.
Dodger was rescued at six months old, alongside a pony called Jammy, from the ditch in Essex on 8 October 2016 after they became stuck up to their necks. The ponies were placed in the care of the RSPCA for rehoming as their owners could not be traced.
Florence Harris, from Banstead, Surrey, rehomed Dodger as a yearling. She had seen him advertised on the RSPCA’s website on the anniversary of her former rescue pony Apache’s death.
Florence told H&H: “We had only had Apache just under a year when he passed away on 14 February in 2013. It was so unexpected and sudden. I was really hurt and took a break from horses.
“Around the time Dodger was rescued I decided I wanted to get another horse and really missed it so I went to view one but we didn’t really click. I was in a restaurant looking through the RSPCA’s website and saw Dodger’s advert. There are all these horses who don’t have homes so I thought I should rehome a rescue again.
“When I viewed Dodger I said ‘he’s the one’. We started the rehoming process and he came to me on 22 March 2017.”
Florence said when Dodger first arrived he was “very scared” of people and “would stand in a corner and pretend he wasn’t there”.
“He would completely freak out if you touched his shoulder, he was a nervous wreck but after two months we started bonding. He’s a happy chappy now but can still be anxious,” she said.
Firefighters in Essex worked in waist-deep sewage to rescue Jammy and Dodger from the ditch
Oliver was found stuck in a drainage ditch almost up to his neck in water
Take advantage of our sale on Horse & Hound magazine subscriptions today
Three-year-old Dodger is currently around 14hh and Florence is waiting to see what height he makes when he finishes growing.
“If he doesn’t grow much more then my niece and nephew will probably ride and show him. There’s no way I would sell him. I have a 16.2hh chestnut mare called Varno who I got this year for my birthday, who is my ridden horse,” said Florence.
“Dodger loves my three-year-old niece. He changes with the younger children and is so gentle and loving, he’ll nuzzle my niece’s hair. It’s unreal to think he had such a bad start in life. He’s my baby and I couldn’t imagine life without him.”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.