POOR Bernard was extremely ill when he was found.

He was emaciated, infected with salmonella and was even too exhausted to stand. The RSPCA rescued him in Gwent along with four other horses around three years ago.

Bernard beforeBernard was so weak he used the walls and doors to lean on and required assistance to get himself up after laying down as he was just not strong enough.

He was very underweight, his back was covered in rain scald sores and he was full of worms and suffering from salmonella.

Bernard’s recovery wasn’t easy and he endured a difficult six months of intensive care.

Thanks to dedicated care Bernard slowly grew from strength to strength and was adopted by his carer.

The five-year-old 15 hand lightweight cob, is now proving to be quite the success on the show jumping circuit.

“Considering everything he went through he was one lucky horse. He really enjoys the competitions and he gets placed every time we take him out,” said his new owner from Swansea.

“Bernard is off to the British Riding Club’s winter novice show jumping Championships in Hartpury this weekend, he qualified last November so we are keeping our fingers crossed. Bernard after 2

“He also qualified for Festival of the Horse last weekend which is great.

“Bernard has a cheeky character, loves people and has a twinkle in his eye that everyone falls for.”

RSPCA inspector Nicola Johnson said she will always remember the day she rescued Bernard.

“Bernard just came up to me and put his head on my shoulder,” she said. “He was just beautiful and it is lovely to see the amount of joy he is bringing to his new owners.

“It just shows every horse should be able to fulfil its potential. This is how animals should be looked after.”

RSPCA equine rehoming officer for Wales Gareth Johnson said: “Bernard is very special, and the RSPCA have many more horses waiting for your special home. Rescue horses make good companions and there are a variety of rescue horses available for rehoming.

“We have launched a Homes for Horses appeal which we hope will help us rehome many of our horses, ponies and donkeys. We have had a good response from Wales’ horse and pony owners in the past – and we continue to invite people – who have the means to – to rehome a horse from us.”

To apply to adopt a horse, pony or donkey please visit www.rspca.org.uk/homesforhorses.

There will horse rehoming open days at Gonsal Farm Equine Welfare and Rehabilitation Centre, Dorrington, Shrewsbury, between Friday 3 April and Monday 6 April from 11am to 3pm each day. You can just turn up or you can book an appointment by calling 07720 948 636.

Text HORSE to 70111 TO GIVE £3. Texts cost £3 + your standard network rate. RSPCA will receive 100% of your donation, excluding 02 customers, where £2.96 will be received. By using this service, you agree that we may contact you in the future, if you’d rather we didn’t text OPTOUT to 70030. To discuss this donation, please call 0300 123 0346.