Abandoned miniature ponies take on new showing careers

  • Two miniature ponies that were rescued by the Horses and Ponies Protection Association (HAPPA) have been successful in the show ring.

    HAPPA Little John was found tied to a tree in a remote forest in November. He had strangles and had been abandoned.

    HAPPA Gandalf was found emaciated in September 2013. A member of the public alerted the charity when they found him abandoned on wasteland tethered with a chain without food or water.

    After rehabilitation by the charity the ponies were both found loan homes.

    And now HAPPA Foula Orlando (Little John) and HAPPA Liscombe Park Jim Hawkin (Gandalf) have embarked on a showing career.

    The pair competed at the Red Rose Shetland Show at Crow Wood Equestrian Centre earlier this month (7 June), which is affiliated to the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society. Both ponies came home with ribbons and Little John secured a first place in the coloured section for best gelding.

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    “It was wonderful to get the boys together and they became ‘stablemates’ for the day. Their manners were impeccable with each other for a first time meeting,” said Louise Bleasdale, borrower of Little John.

    “We are going to get together in the future to show them again and help promote the wonderful work HAPPA do. People were amazed when speaking to us about the ponies to be told their stories of how they came to be rescued from such terrible circumstances. We had so many wonderful comments about the fantastic condition both ponies are in.”

    Natalie Lofthouse, borrower of Gandalf, added: “Gandalf has been doing really well this year, securing placings in mountain and moorland classes. He has lots of accolades including two trophies and a sash. He is a real character and loves to gallop around the fields at home keeping up with the bigger horses. He is also the boss and most definitely rules the roost; his favourite pastime is eating grass and having a little buck. He is a tiny pony with a big personality and has captured our hearts — he is a little superstar and we love him dearly.”

    As the ponies were microchipped, when they were rescued HAPPA could trace their parentage and obtain passports for the ponies, enabling them to enter affiliated shows. Their owners, however, have not been traced.

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