When little George came into the care of World Horse Welfare in early 2018 no one then could have predicted that the terrified, near-starving pony would blossom into a driving star and come out on top at a recent national awards ceremony. World Horse Welfare George, known to his friends now as Ted, won the ‘Rescue Horse or Pony’ category at this year’s Carriage Driving Awards 2020 after blossoming in the care of his rehomer, Liz.
Handsome 9-year-old liver chestnut Welsh Section C pony Ted arrived at World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre after he was rescued, along with several other ponies, severely underweight and unhandled. The team at Penny Farm slowly and carefully returned him to health and, once he was able to start his education, he was introduced to driving.
Liz already had one rehomed World Horse Welfare pony, Yogi, who she had driven and competed successfully – even appearing at the Olympia International Horse Show – when she heard that there was another potential driving pony available at Penny Farm. She leapt at the chance and very soon afterwards, in October 2019, Ted joined Yogi in Norfolk.
Liz points out that she hasn’t trained Ted alone, that there was a close-knit team including friends Amy and Bernie all working together to prepare Ted for his driving career. As all three of the team had previously had ponies called George, the decision was made to adopt ‘Ted’ as his day-to-day name.
Ted has taken to the driving life with gusto and Liz and the team want to aim him at competitions. Liz said: “He’s at the beginning of his journey but he looks amazing and he’s really got something a bit special. He’s full of character and once he’s got the hang of something that’s it. We are currently working on his pace, it is already correct but there is more for him to learn and we want to encourage his extravagance. He’s brilliant!”
Liz said: “There is nothing more fulfilling that turning around a horse that may have been considered a ‘write off’. The team at Penny Farm did an amazing job getting him fit and healthy, and introducing him to driving. By doing that they have given him a real future, Ted – and Yogi – just go to prove, once again, that rescue horses and ponies really can turn their hooves to anything.”
World Horse Welfare’s relaunched rehoming website https://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/rehome sets out the rehoming process clearly and makes applications straightforward and an engaging animation explains the rehoming and application process. Rehomers receive an honest assessment of their chosen horse and their capabilities, as well as ongoing support and the reassurance that if their circumstances change, the rehomed horse can be returned to World Horse Welfare.
Rehoming a horse is an immensely rewarding experience. Most of the rehomed horses have had difficult lives before coming into the charity and rehoming offers them a vital second chance. The charity has four Rescue and Rehoming Centres Belwade Farm in Aberdeenshire, Penny Farm in Lancashire, Hall Farm in Norfolk and Glenda Spooner Farm in Somerset.