Rescue pony found malnourished in 2019 is crowned supreme at Equifest at her first show

  • A Welsh section C pony who was a “hat rack” when she was rescued by the RSPCA in 2019 landed the rescue horse and pony supreme accolade at Equifest (19 — 21 August).

    Sophie Donaldson’s “Olive”, a five-year-old dun mare, shone under the spotlights at the East Of England Showground to win both the ridden class and the overall title.

    Sophie was first acquainted with Olive at the end of 2020 when she heard that there was a pony for sale at a riding school.

    “I went over to see her, tried her and bought her,” said home-producer Sophie, who runs a skin clinic in Dover, Kent. “Olive had been rescued in March 2019 and through the BHS Second Chance Ponies scheme she was sent to Nelson Park Riding Centre, a BHS-approved riding school, the following October. Here, she was backed and brought on, gaining lots of confidence.”

    When she was found during the rescue mission Olive was neglected, very malnourished and covered in lice.

    Olive in March 2019

    “Looking back at pictures she was a hat rack,” said Sophie, who got Olive home in January this year and started bringing her on, incorporating lots of different spheres including cross-country rides and hacking.

    “She has come on so well and always wants to please. Equifest was her first ever showing show. She can be fiery but she’s a quick learner and this has made the journey much easier. 

    “She’s had her name changed a few times; the RSPCA called her Gabby, and when I bought her she was called Wren, though my dog shares the same name so I decided to call her Olive, which really suits her.”

    Sophie hopes to compete Olive as a worker in the future:

    “She has a real pop. Equifest was the perfect show for her. I love it; you can go as a complete amateur and not feel out of place as everyone is so supportive. Olive has a real ‘look at me’ attitude and she loved the atmosphere in the evening performance.”

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