There have been a record number of entries for the prestigious RSPCA and PRP Rescue Services Horse/Pony of the Year which aims to find the country’s best rescue equine.
There have already been more than 70 entries received for the competition, which is in its third year and is being held at Equifest on Saturday, 16 August.
Celebrating rescue horses and ponies at Equifest
There will be six in-hand and ridden classes for rescue horses and ponies at Peterborough Showground Arena.
The top horses and ponies in each class will win a place in the championship class in the evening with the chance to be named Rescue Horse/Pony of the Year.
Chief Inspector Cathy Hyde, who heads the RSPCA’s specialist equine team, said:
“This competition is a celebration of the rescue horses and ponies who have been through incredibly tough times but survived and flourished thanks to the brilliant work of equine charities and sanctuaries.
“The horses and ponies are judged on turnout as well as their stories and transformations which are so moving and often have everyone in floods of tears.
“I’d encourage anyone thinking of getting a horse or pony to look at adopting one, there are hundreds which need new homes.”
The classes are open to rescue horses from all charities and animal organisations and last year included entries from HAPPA (the Horse and Pony Protection Association), Redwings, Blue Cross and World Horse Welfare.
All winners receive 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.
The overall champion will also be presented with a bronze statue donated by RSPCA Bolton Branch.
Happy ending for 2013 winner, Cracker Jack
Six RSPCA rescue horses which entered Equifest last year all found new homes - including Cracker Jack who left the show with his new family, the Marshalls, after a very speedy home check.
Cracker Jack – one of the stars of Equifest last year
Lisa Marshall from Hull said:
“We saw him, fell in love and ended up bringing him home from Equifest. It all happened so quickly.”
The 14-year-old piebald gelding was found tethered in a muddy ditch by a busy main road in York with no food or water. The tethering chain had got so tangled up poor Cracker Jack was unable to move. He was seized by police and taken into our care in early 2012. His feet were in poor condition, he had worms and was very territorial over his food.
His owner was convicted of welfare offences and disqualified from keeping horses for five years and Cracker Jack went to the RSPCA’s specialist equine centre, Felledge, in County Durham for rehabilitation.
Cracker Jack and Lisa’s 14-year-old son Tom have proved to be a formidable partnership scooping rosette after rosette on the showing circuit.
Lisa said: “He does whatever we ask of him and he’s just getting better and better.
“We would have never considered rehoming a rescue horse before we met Cracker Jack, now we tell everyone his story wherever we go. People cannot believe he’s a rescue pony because he’s such good quality.”
Helping to find homes for horses
We recently launched a Homes for Horses campaign to find owners for some of the 800 horses and ponies in our care.
The campaign has got off to a flying start with many horses and ponies being reserved so far. Find out how you can give a rescued horse or pony a forever home.
To support our campaign text HORSE to 70111 to give £3 or sponsor a stable block today.