The second RSPCA and PRP Rescue Services Rescue Horse/Pony of the Year is set to be even bigger and better than last year’s competition when the event takes place at Equifest this Saturday (17 August).
This year, Channel 5 News presenter, Emma Crosby, will be assisting the three judges in selecting the Champion and Reserve Rescue Horse/Pony of the Year at the Peterborough Showground Arena.
Emma said: “I’m very excited about the show and really looking forward to helping the RSPCA with this great competition.”
Equifest is the largest horse show held in the UK and attracted more than 11,000 entries in more than 400 classes over five days of competition in 2012. This year it begins on Wednesday 14 August with the rescue classes being held on Saturday.
This year the rescue competition has been increased from two to six classes – with more classes added to the In-hand and Ridden categories, a new class for 1-3 year olds and a new Lead Rein class for ponies.
The in-hand and ridden classes take place from 8.30am with the first and second placed horses and ponies in each class going forward to compete for the overall championship title which takes place in the evening.
The overall Champion Rescue Horse or Pony will be presented with a bronze statue donated by RSPCA Bolton Branch. All winners will receive rosettes and prize money donated by PRP Horsebox Rescue, as well as products and vouchers from Equine Essential Oils, Spillers Horse Feeds and Derby House Saddlery.
The RSPCA will have a display unit at the show manned by our specialist equine officers and stables housing some of the horses which are currently looking for new homes. Anyone wishing to rehome any of the horses or ponies will then have the opportunity to apply at the event.
Show judge Clare Frost, who judged the 2012 ridden class won by an RSPCA rescue horse named Sundae*, said: “It was an honour to be asked to judge the show and one of the most heartrending, but fulfilling experiences I have had as a judge. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house on Saturday night and by far the best part was to see the trust which these horses and ponies had regained in humans.”
Last year, a bay Dartmoor gelding, named Little Ted, won the in-hand class and went on to take the overall Champion Rescue Horse of the Year title. He was removed from his owner in March 2010 after being found severely emaciated and collapsed.
Little Ted made a remarkable recovery and is now owned by Sharon Harris who adopted him from the RSPCA in July along with Jesse, another Dartmoor pony who came second in the in-hand class.
RSPCA national equine coordinator, chief inspector Cathy Hyde said: “The competition was so well received last year, with people visibly moved to see these horses and ponies alongside a slideshow featuring photos showing them in the awful states that they were in before being rescued and adopted by fantastic new owners. I think it helped to introduce many new people to the RSPCA who might not have been aware of the work we do in rescuing and rehabilitating horses.
“I can’t say thank you enough to Equifest and to all our sponsors for believing in rescue horses and ponies and helping the RSPCA to put on this amazing event.”
*Chestnut cob mare Sundae won the ridden class and came 2nd or ‘Reserve’ overall. Sundae came from a large scale case in Amersham, Buckinghamshire in which a horse dealer was imprisoned and banned from keeping equines after being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to 40 horses and ponies and failing to meet the needs of a further 114.
Little Ted, Jesse and Sundae will all be competing again this year.
To find out more about rehoming a horse from the RSPCA please visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/horses/rehoming
Our rescue horses are being transported to Equifest by C & C Horse Transport and Boothroydan Horse Transport. For more information please visit