The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trial’s charity of the year — World Horse Welfare (WHW) — is this year celebrating its 90th year of helping horses and ponies in the UK and around the globe.
Today saw the WHW Rehomed Horse of the Year – Burghley ‘People’s Choice’ parade in Ring Two where members of the public voted online for the rehomed horse or pony they think should be crowned champion.
The finalists included:
WHW Ace: A 12-year-old New Forest gelding who was part of a large welfare case rescued from terrible conditions in winter 2013. Alongside limited food and water and being infested with lice, Ace had had very limited human contact and was initially nervous, but with the help of World Horse Welfare, Ace soon came into his own, and in 2015 he was rehomed to Peggy Hooper from Dorset where he is a loyal friend and companion to her other horses.
WHW Dippy: This nine-year-old dapple grey gelding was born in World Horse Welfare’s care in spring 2008 when his mother came into the charity as part of a welfare case. He was rehomed as a youngster in 2010 to Briony Gilks from Norfolk who continued his training and backed him. Since then, Dippy has taken part in all disciplines, and in 2016 he represented GB at the Riding Club World Championships in France being placed fourth.
WHW Nutkin: The eight-year-old Welsh pony came into WHW’s care in 2009 with a group of other horses and ponies from a rescue centre where the owner had become unable to care for them. Nutkin was underweight and infested with lice. After undergoing rehabilitation, Nutkin was rehomed to a family where he was ridden by children, before being rehomed to current carer, Leah Fowler and her daughter Darcy who now rides him in showing classes.
WHW Oliver: A coloured six-year-old cob who came into WHW’S care at just a few months old along with a group of 25 other horses and ponies in a terrible condition. Oliver was very underweight. Oliver was rehomed as a two-year-old where he competed in horse agility before being rehomed again to Rachel Blake from East Harling in 2014 where he is continuing his ridden education and competed in both in-hand and ridden showing. They recently won the Rehomed class at Royal Norfolk Show.
WHW Starsky: Starsky’s mother came in as part of a group of horses who had been removed from their owner by the RSPCA and Starksy was born in WHW’s care in 2004. Starsky soon became an Adoption Horse, taking part in a variety of activities, before being rehomed to Grace Cooper from Preston in 2011. The pair has grown up together, enjoying success in showjumping, cross-country, pony racing and polocrosse — to name just a few.
WHW Yogi: The 13-year-old Welsh pony came into the care of the WHW in January 2006 after his owner became unable to look after him. Yogi was completely unhandled and had very little trust in humans. After working with the WHW team, he was rehomed as a youngster to continue his education before being rehomed again to current carer Liz Harcombe from Needham Market who competes him in driving trials both as a single and in tandem with his partner Dev.
Over 2,000 people voted online with the most votes went to Welsh pony Nutkin, much to the pleasure of his five-year-old rider Darcy who was awarded her WHW sash and rosette and a prize from Fairfax & Favour by international event rider Piggy French.
An emotional Leah Fowler said: I’m so proud of him – no one deserves it more than him. He is amazing with Darcy and they are a very special pair. They’ve done a bit of everything including mounted games which I wasn’t sure he’d take to, but he has coped with it really well, and more recently they have taken up dressage and they just managed to do their first test off the lead-rein.”
‘The work that WHW do is absolutely vital, and credit to all these guys who have brought these rehomed horses and ponies today in such fantastic condition and with such fairytale stories,” said Piggy French. “Little Darcy is only a young girl and the tears in her eyes when she was given her prize just goes to show how much these ponies mean to their carers.”