A neglected pony who struggled to walk after being left alone in a filthy stable for 19 months with little food and water has learnt how to trust humans again, thanks to Blue Cross.
Stew was rescued from appalling conditions by the RSPCA before arriving at our Burford rehoming centre, where he has spent nearly three months recovering from his ordeal.
As well as being starving and mentally traumatised, the five-year-old native was in pain with every step he took as his previous owner had not looked after his hooves and had cut them back themselves.
Vicki Alford, Horse Rehoming Manager, said: “Stew was mentally traumatised from being in a stable for so long and was very hungry so was quite aggressive around food at first, as he had been fed so randomly before, never knowing when food was coming. Physically, his hooves were in an appalling state.”
Stew was castrated which calmed him down and his groom worked hard to build his trust.
“This took a lot of time”, said Vicki. “He was very untrusting of his groom at first and would lay his ears flat and charge at her. But once he realised that food would come freely and there was no fight for it, he began to settle and his groom was able to touch him and start working with him.”
Vicki continued: “We have worked with him using lots of food for reward to make his association with people a positive one. He can now lead, pick up all of his feet and be groomed all over. He is adorable and loves his groom now. It’s a remarkable turnaround.”
Thanks to all of the work Blue Cross has put in to rehabilitate Stew, he is now ready to find a home.
He remains clingy to other horses in the field as memories of being left alone in his horrid past still haunt him, but the team is sure that he will continue to grow in independence.
Vicki added: “Stew still gets a bit concerned about being left alone and is quite attached to his friends in the field, but we are hopeful that this dependency will lessen as his confidence grows.
“We feel he would make a lovely driving pony or he would do well in the show ring. He needs someone who is understanding of his past and will work slowly with him to build his confidence.”