Thursday, 14 February 2013

Rescuing Coco

Two years ago I was looking for a pony for L. Visiting a local yard there was a pony in the field who caught my eye because he looked rather ragged and uncared for. I asked the owner about him and she said "it's a really sad story, he was dropped off here a couple of days ago by a lady who had 6 horses and couldn't look after them anymore. She said if I couldn't take him he would be put to sleep. Would you like him? I won't charge you anything for him."
I said no, that he wasn't what we were looking for and went home. 

I didn't sleep well that night. Images of the pony kept popping into my brain. Finally I must have dropped off because I woke at 5am with a start, the pony large before my eyes.
I woke M up. "It's no good," I told him, "I've got to go and get that pony. He won't let me be."

I dropped L off at school picked up the trailer and went straight round. I gave her £50 because she'd been his first guardian angel and had horses of her own to feed and care for. He came home with me.

He was in a pretty bad way; thin and depressed with dull eyes and dry flaky skin all the way up his neck beneath his mane, his hooves needed attention and he had an infected tooth protruding out of his mouth which made eating and drinking very hard for him. Whenever he tried to drink most of the water would spill straight out of his mouth again, so I suspected he was probably also dehydrated.

My vet came out the following day and took the tooth out, the farrier came the next and sorted his feet, and we wormed him- I've never seen so many worms come out of a horse before.

Checking droppings for worms

He had a passport with his name in but we decided to give him a new name to start his new life with us and called him Coco. Here he is during his first week with us.

In this photo you can see how round his tummy is- this isn't health, it's caused by worm infestation which can cause permanent damage to the gut

Hi expression in this photo shows how shell-shocked his experiences had left him. His eyes were lifeless when he first arrived and he moved as if going through the motions with no real engagement at all. You can also see how think his neck was

 It is quite amazing how quickly ponies put on condition if they are properly cared for. Coco was having two small feeds a day containing a pro-biotic to help his digestion and in no time began to leave his unhappy life behind him and slowly started to look healthier. We took him out for walks in the forest to help put some muscles back on and remind him there is a whole lovely world out there.

We also had the horsey chiropractor check him over. Not surprisingly his joints and muscles were not in very good shape, but he was moving more comfortably after the session.

A week later and he was already looking better, his eyes were brighter and his character was starting to show through:

Still with a very skinny neck but the shine is starting to come back to his coat

With a reduced worm burden and decent feed his stomach has begun to go down

A month later and you really wouldn't recognise him as the same pony. We began long-reining him and taking him out for gentle rides in the forest, both of which he loved. He tried so hard to get things right, always listening and doing his best.

His mouth healed up well but we started him off in a bitless bridle just in case.

Enjoying time in the paddock

And then, in August, four months after rescuing him, he went to his first show- a huge achievement, one that made all of us very very proud of him.

Here he is on the left as you look at the photo

Now he lives with my mother and her mare in the New Forest, goes out for a ride in the forest a couple of times a week, is snug inside a warm rug during the winter with proper feed and haylage, and in the summer dozes contentedly in his field beneath the dappled shade of a large old oak tree, a happy pony once more.




  1. What a touching story! He is one lucky pony to have found you - he looks the picture of health and happiness now!

  2. Beautiful photo story with a great, happy ending! Every horse needs an owner like you. :)

  3. Thanks K and M. We were lucky to find him really; he has transformed my mother's life and was instrumental in helping her find the confidence to get her mare and start riding again at the age of 65. Funny how the world works isn't it?

  4. He's absolutely lovely and reminds me very much of Trigger. What a star for rescuing him. Thank goodness there are people like you in the world!

  5. What a wonderful story and what a fortunate pony Coco is now! That enlarged tooth must have been agony for him. You have done a brilliant job bringing him back from a very bad place. He has a beautiful head and such a kind eye.

    Lovely to know that Coco has brought horses back into your Mother`s life again.

  6. Thanks DW and welcome to my blog. CT


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