A yearling found “on the brink of death” days before Christmas last year is now happy and thriving in his permanent home.
The youngster, named Frosty by the RSPCA, was spotted, by a member of the public, lying at the bottom of a bank in Belvedere, London on 18 December 2019.
RSPCA animal rescue officer Lisa Miller said: “Sadly we are often called out to collapsed horses and find it’s too late and they’ve died. It’s so dangerous when horses go down and can’t get back up as their internal organs can fail under the weight of their own bodies.
“When I arrived, London Fire Brigade had just arrived and we were quickly able to tell that the pony was in a perilous situation.
“He’d slipped down a muddy bank and was stuck, lying on his side, with his back legs caught around a tree and his front legs in the river. He’d been trying to get back to his feet and was exhausted; he was on the brink of death.”
The pony was sedated, after which his rescuers could get straps underneath him and winch him up the bank.
“By this point it was dark and raining so the poor pony was cold and we had to work quickly but carefully so as not to hurt him,” said Lisa. “We eventually got him back to the top and got his sopping wet rug off of him.
“The fire brigade left and the vet and I stayed with him as he slowly came around. He was absolutely exhausted and we were worried that he wouldn’t recover from the ordeal but slowly he started to perk up and we eventually managed to heave him back up on to his feet.”
The RSPCA believes the pony had been dumped, as no owner came forward. He was looked after by the charity’s Leybourne Animal Centre near Maidstone, Kent, and in May, went to a new home with Debbie Paine and her family.
Debbie, who lives with her husband Rob and four children near Maidstone, renamed the pony Cash.
“When I saw him on the RSPCA website, I just knew he was the one for us,” she said.
“Due to lockdown, I thought he’d already been adopted as his advert was taken offline, but one of the grooms there confirmed he was still available.
“He came to us on 12 May and I managed to keep it a secret from my youngest three children, so when we went to the yard I surprised them with Cash.
The three-year-old was painfully thin and had a very painful abscess on his face
Binge-watching horsey DVDs, hunting and overindulging on Christmas dinner – top riders are no different to the rest of us.
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
“He is a very sweet and quiet boy, who had a terrible start to life but has definitely won the lottery with us!”
Debbie said Cash is “treated like a king”, living in a herd, and that he has paired up with a three-year-old cob.
Lisa added: “It is just fantastic to see what a transformation Cash has been through. I’m delighted to see him in his new forever home. There were a few points where I wasn’t sure whether he was going to make it but he’s proved he’s a little fighter. He’s a Christmas miracle!”
Last Christmas Day, there were 893 equines in RSPCA care and 70 rescued throughout December.
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.