Once Semi-Feral Rescue Pony Wins ‘Against the Odds’
A pony who came into World Horse Welfare’s care completely unhandled and frightened of human contact has taken the top spot in the ‘Horse & Hound Achieving Against the Odds’ category of the charity’s Rehomed Horse of the Year Awards 2017.
In January 2006, World Horse Welfare was called to assist an owner who had ended up with two young unhandled ponies, Yogi and Mo, and was unable to care for them. The ponies had rarely experienced human contact and were both extremely nervous when they arrived at World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre to begin their journey to rehabilitation.
Yogi was just two years old when he arrived and it took the team a long time to build his trust in humans with daily handling and care. He was soon ready to find a new home and went out as a youngster to driving enthusiast, Liz Harcombe. Liz could see Yogi had a lot of potential and once he was old enough, began the process of teaching him to pull a carriage. She said:
“I'm thrilled that Yogi has won this award. This pony keeps bringing people together and gives us all so much fun. This year he has competed successfully in private driving classes, driving trials as a single and as a tandem leader, attelage and even pony club and riding club demos. His versatility is amazing; he always tries his hardest and I count my lucky stars that I was able to take him on. Thank you so much for the award, it's a wonderful bonus after a great year for Yogi.”
“Yogi arrived as a hairy two year old and whilst he still had some issues, he was a genuinely sweet character. After settling in, he took to wearing harness and pulling a small two wheeled cart around the village and forest tracks whilst he matured and continued to improve on his handling.
“At the age of five we decided to enter him in his first driving trials with the East Anglian Carriage Driving Group at Elveden and so began his driving career! He started in the pre-novice classes, trotting carefully around the cross-country phases, not keen on getting his feet wet in the water obstacles and progressed to the National Championships, usually getting the fastest marathon time!
Yogi when he arrived at World Horse Welfare in 2006
“We were reserve National Champion at the British National Carriage Driving championships in 2011 and 3rd in 2013. I should add that pilot error is the reason we haven’t topped the podium! He has been East Anglian Open Pony Champion numerous times, won in private driving classes at county level and successfully taken to playing tandem leader for the last three seasons with his partner, Dev.
“Yogi is a total diamond and still exciting at 13 years old. His inauspicious start never held him back; he takes on every challenge and turns heads wherever he goes. Representing World Horse Welfare at events such as Badminton Horse Trials, the Olympia Horse Show in London and at the Hall Farm Open Days, I can honestly say he is the pony of my lifetime and will have a home for life with us.”
Yogi has excelled as a driven pony alongside rehomer Liz
The Horse & Hound editorial team chose Yogi as the category winner. Horse & Hound Editor, Pippa Roome, said:
“We were delighted to choose Yogi as the winner of the Against the Odds category — to see a pony pull back from a bad start in life to compete so successfully in driving is testament to the care of World Horse Welfare and the attention and training he has been given by his rehomer, Liz, since he found his home for life with her.”
September marks World Horse Welfare’s annual Rehome a Horse Month, a month of activity aimed at highlighting the benefits of rehoming, sharing just some of the amazing stories of rehomers around the country and raising awareness of the many horses and ponies still looking for a home. Each year, World Horse Welfare rehomes around 300 horses and ponies with over 1,800 currently out in loving homes around the UK.
World Horse Welfare Deputy Chief Executive, Tony Tyler, said:
“Rehome a Horse Month is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the many reasons why rehoming should always be the go-to option for anyone looking for a new horse or pony. Not only can you be guaranteed of complete honesty and transparency, but you also receive the support and back up of the World Horse Welfare team, plus the safety net that the horse or pony can be returned to our care at any time should your circumstances change.
“We are so grateful to all of our fantastic rehomers who are giving these horses and ponies a second chance at the life they deserve and it really is incredible to hear of all the amazing things they are achieving. From loyal companions to horse agility superstars, lead-rein ponies to driving dynamos and hacking horses to show ring successes – it seems there is nothing rehomed horses and ponies cannot do!”
Find out more about rehoming at: www.worldhorsewelfare.org/rehoming