The second RSPCA and PRP Rescue Services Rescue Horse/Pony of the Year has been hailed a resounding success after taking place at Equifest on 17 August.  As well as the competition, six horses taken to the show by us were rehomed.

Ellie, Jesse and Emma © RSPCAThis year the classes were increased from two to six and there were more than 70 entries overall, compared to 43 entries in 2012. The best ponies and horses in each class went into the championship which took place on Saturday evening in the Peterborough Showground Arena.

The championship judges were helped by Channel 5 newsreader Emma Crosby in finding a Dartmoor gelding named Cayberry Rockafella, known as Jesse, the overall Champion Rescue Pony.  Jesse was removed from his owner, a former show judge and breeder, in 2010.

Jesse’s former owner was banned from keeping horses in September 2011 after admitting causing the pony to suffer.

Jesse came second in 2012’s in hand class and this year won the Lead Rein/First Ridden class with his owner, ten-year-old Ellie Dean, before going on to take the overall title.

Ellie said:

“Jesse had a very hard start in life, he was rescued by the RSPCA with 36 other ponies when he was only a baby.


“His ridden career only started in January this year and I’ve worked really hard practising our shows and getting him to canter on the right leg.


“He is so cheeky and funny, he follows me around the field and he gives me kisses by licking my face.  My mum says he’s either been here before or he’s just very grateful.”

There were a number of RSPCA winners

Emma, Ellie and Inspector Hannah Bryer © RSPCARescue horses from the Horse and Pony Protection Association (HAPPA), Redwings, Blue Cross and World Horse Welfare entered the competition, along with several of our horses.

Other RSPCA winners included Chester from Felledge Equine Centre who won the In Hand Native class; Molly from Gonsal Farm Equine Centre who was the Reserve Champion (second place overall) and won the In Hand Plaited/Hogged Class and General Nuisance and an ex-RSPCA horse who won the Ridden Plaited/Hogged Class.

All winners received rosettes and prize money donated by sponsor PRP Horsebox Rescue, as well as products and vouchers from Equine Essential Oils, Spillers Horse Feeds and Derby House Saddlery.  Jesse, as overall champion, was also presented with a bronze statue donated by our Bolton Branch.

Six rescue horses found their new homes

In addition to the competition we took eight horses which were stabled next to our display stand, six of which needed new homes.  By the end of the weekend, all six had been rehomed with some, including Chester, actually going home with their new owners on Sunday.  Interest was also expressed in our hundreds of other rescue horses, with lots of application forms from potential owners being handed in.

Equifest attracted more than 10,000 entries for its showing, show jumping, dressage and carriage driving classes, and took place between 14 and 18 August.

RSPCA national equine coordinator, Chief Inspector Cathy Hyde said:

“The competition was so well received, 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 which is shown by all eight of our rescue horses finding new homes at Equifest.  We’ll be sad to see them go as we’ve put in so much work with them, but we know they will be in fantastic new homes and hope to see them at next year’s competition with their new owners.


“I can’t say thank you enough to Equifest, PRP and all our sponsors for believing in rescue horses and ponies and helping the RSPCA to put on this unique competition.”

Find out more about rehoming a horse from us.

C&C Horse Transport and Boothroydan Horse Transport kindly donated their horse boxes, so that our rescue horses could travel in style to the event.

We can’t do it without you

We are only able to help rescue and rehabilitate animals like this  thanks to generous  donations from the public.

If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866.
(texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message)