From slumdog stallion to glorious gelding

  • A stallion who was kept locked in his box for 19months with little food and water and was crippled by his neglected feet has been successfully rehabilitated by the Blue Cross.

    Native pony Stew was initially rescued by the RSCPA before being transferred to the Blue Cross’s Burford rehoming centre last October, where he spent three months recuperating from his ordeal.

    As well as being half-starved and mentally traumatised, the five-year-old bay pony could barely walk as his previous owners had chosen to trim his hooves themselves.

    Blue Cross horse rehoming manager Vicki Alford said: “Stew was mentally traumatised from being in a stable for so long and being intermittently starved.

    “He was quite aggressive around food at first, as he had been fed so randomly before, never knowing when food was coming. Physically, his hooves were in an appalling state.”

    The Blue Cross had Stew gelded, which helped to calm him down, while his groom at the charity worked hard to regain his trust in humans.

    Vicki said the process had taken a lot of time but the pony had undergone a “remarkable turnaround.”

    “He was very untrusting of his groom at first and would lay his ears flat and charge at her. But once he realised that food would come freely and there was no fight for it, he began to settle and his groom was gradually able to touch him and then start working with him,” she said.

    “We have worked with him using food as a reward to make his association with people a positive one. He is now happy to be led, will pick up all four feet and can be groomed all over. He is adorable and loves his groom now.”

    Stew has now been rehabilitated to the point where he is available for rehoming.

    Vicki said she believes he could have a future in the show ring or would make a lovely driving pony.

    “He needs someone who is understanding of his past and will work slowly with him to build his confidence,” she said.

    “Stew still gets a bit concerned about being left alone and is quite attached to his friends in the field, but we are hopeful that this dependency will lessen as his confidence grows.”

    Anyone who thinks they can offer Stew the home he deserves can find out more information here or call Blue Cross Burford on 0300 777 1570.

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