Pony power prevailed at this year’s Equifest as two were named the RSPCA Rescue Ponies of the Year!
A Dartmoor pony we discovered close to death and helped fight back to health called Little Ted scooped the Champion place. Meanwhile Pearly Princess from Thornberry Animal Sanctuary was crowned reserve champion.
Entries came from several equine charities and sanctuaries including Blue Cross, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, World Horse Welfare and the Horse and Pony Protection Association (HAPPA). The horses and ponies were judged on their stories of survival as well as their transformation.
Moved to tears
Judges, contestants and spectators at the event which happened August 13 to 17 in Peterborough were moved to tears by the harrowing stories of the 70 rescue ponies and horses competing.
Our Chief Inspector Cathy Hyde, who heads our team of specialist equine inspectors and helped organise the prestigious competition, said:
“These two little ponies showed they have huge personalities, and together with their young riders proved that rescue horses and ponies are far from second best.”
Little Ted was rescued by the RSPCA in 2010 after being found severely emaciated and collapsed. He was put on a drip at the scene and against the odds, survived. His owner was later banned from keeping horses after admitting causing suffering.
Sharon Harris adopted Little Ted, and he first won the champion title in 2012. He then returned to Equifest this year with lead rein rider Lola Fowles, seven, and scooped success for a second time.
“I’m so incredibly proud. Little Ted was very timid and nervy when he came to us but now he loves attention.”
“I’m so excited; I didn’t think I was going to win. Little Ted is the best pony ever.”
Stunning grey Pearly Princess and her young rider Mollie, 11, from Sheffield scooped reserve champion. Proud mum Katie Dakin rehomed 11-year-old Pearl from Thornberry Animal Sanctuary six years ago.
They have a special bond
“When Pearl came to us she was a very nervous pony who was terrified of everything. Pearl couldn’t trust anyone apart from my then five-year-old daughter, they have a special bond.”
We also took 14 rescue horses and ponies to Equifest for rehoming from our various different centres, 12 of whom were reserved by new owners.
This was the third year the RSPCA and PRP Rescue Services Rescue horse/pony of the year competition ran with more entries than ever.
“This competition is going from strength to strength. It’s a great way to celebrate the work of charities, sanctuaries and new owners as well as showcase horses and ponies which need new homes.
“I’d like to thank all of our generous sponsors, the organisers of Equifest and Katy Islip from Your Horse magazine who helped our panel of judges. Without them this increasingly popular competition would not be possible.”
Find out about adopting an RSPCA rescue horse or pony
Visit our Homes for Horses page or support our work to tackle the horse crisis text HORSE to 70111 to give £3