A pony found in a “semi-feral” condition who went on to become reserve national carriage driving champion has been named the winner of the Horse & Hound achieving against all odds award.
Part-bred Welsh pony Yogi was chosen by the H&H team as one of the deserving victors of World Horse Welfare’s 2017 rehomed horse of the year awards.
The 12.2hh gelding came to the charity’s attention in January 2006 when he was two.
World Horse Welfare was called to the aid of Yogi and Mo, another unhandled youngster, whose owner could not care for them.
“The ponies had rarely experienced human contact and were both extremely nervous when they arrived at World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre to begin their journey to rehabilitation,” said a charity spokesman.
Once the Hall Farm team had succeeded in the long fight to win Yogi’s trust, he was rehomed to driving enthusiast Liz Harcombe, who realised his potential.
His competitive success since then has included reserve champion at the British national carriage-driving championships in 2011 and third in 2013.
“I should add that pilot error is the reason we haven’t topped the podium!” said Liz.
“He has been East Anglian open pony champion numerous times, won in private driving classes at county level and successfully taken to playing tandem leader for the past three seasons with his partner, Dev.
“Yogi is a total diamond and still exciting at 13 years old. His inauspicious start never held him back; he takes on every challenge and turns heads wherever he goes.
“I can honestly say he is the pony of my lifetime and will have a home for life with us.
“Thank you so much for the award, it’s a wonderful bonus after a great year for Yogi.”
H&H editor Pippa Roome said the team was “delighted” to judge Yogi the winner.
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“To see a pony pull back from a bad start to compete so successfully in driving is testament to the care of World Horse Welfare and the attention and training he has been given by his rehomer, Liz, since he found his home for life with her,” she added.
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