Rescue pony Yogi wins at National Carriage Driving Championships

Rescue pony World Horse Welfare Yogi and team-mate Devon claimed the win in the tandem class at the National Carriage Driving Championships on 1st September 2019 with rehomer Liz. Yogi, standing at 12.3hh and now aged 16, may have had a sorry start in life but he hasn’t let that stop him!

The team ready for action at the Championships

Yogi came into World Horse Welfare’s care as a two-year-old after he and his field-mate were bought by someone with very little knowledge of their background. Both ponies were unhandled, entire and being kept in an over-grazed paddock next to a field of mares.  Having contacted World Horse Welfare for advice, the owner eventually agreed that it was in the ponies’ best interests to be signed over to the charity.

Yogi was extremely nervous of any human contact on arrival but with consistent, patient handling from his groom his confidence began to develop. In time, Yogi was ready for rehoming as a youngster to continue his handling and education on the ground.

When he was old enough to be broken to drive, Yogi’s potential swiftly became apparent. Rehomer Amy Last started his training as a driving pony and quickly realised that Yogi had some real talent. In due course, Liz Harcombe took over the reins and Yogi’s competitive driving career began in earnest.

Two grey driving ponies with lady wearing a World Horse Welfare jumper
Yogi with Liz and team-mate Devon

When he was ten, Liz decided to try Yogi as a tandem leader to give his younger, greener team-mate time to develop in strength and confidence. Since then, the team have gone from strength to strength, taking part in countless displays and competing in driving trials all over the country.

Two plaited up grey ponies grooming each other
Yogi and team-mate Devon grooming each other during some down time

The 2019 National Championships was Yogi and Devon’s first three-day event and it’s safe to say both ponies rose to the challenge magnificently.

“Yogi and Devon put in an amazing performance on the final day, listening carefully and responding to every request for more pace despite the tough marathon phase the day before. I couldn’t ask more of them; they tried their socks off and coped so well with the atmosphere and a bit of pressure from me to get it right.

“There were huge smiles in the lap of honour, a pile of ribbons and a tear or two from me! I doubt the ponies care too much about the rosettes, trophy and national title but they loved the chance to buck and kick and roll when we got home like nothing had happened!

“Thank you, World Horse Welfare. Who would have thought that a little nervous unwanted two-year-old could be National Champion at 16 and still years left? Yogi is truly my pony of a lifetime.”

Liz Harcombe describing the team’s experience at the National Championships
Grey pony wearing a World Horse Welfare Yogi rug
Yogi having a snooze whilst he’s off-duty

Inspired by Yogi’s story? Check out our horses and ponies ready to find new homes here.

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