(Above: Jack before and now (credit: Sheila Henry))
An abandoned fly grazing cob has qualified for a prestigious horse show three years after being found abandoned and rescued by Blue Cross.
Jack has metamorphosed from a shaggy young stallion into a showing supremo who will, this summer, appear at Hickstead Royal International.
The striking black and white cob, who was originally called Chap by Blue Cross, was found wandering the lanes of East Anglia, snacking on the verges while the traffic tried to avoid him.
The police signed him over to Blue Cross and he was taken to our horse unit at Burford in Oxfordshire.
Although Jack wasn’t in bad condition and was a happy, friendly chap, he needed a full veterinary assessment and a foot trim, vaccinations, a microchip and a passport. He was also castrated.
With his good looks and flowing paces Jack quickly became a favourite with the horse team at Burford. They knew he would find a home in no time and Sheila Henry couldn’t believe her luck when she found him on the Blue Cross website two years ago.
“I came across this young man whilst pondering on whether or not to have a second horse after losing my old mare of 25 years,” says Sheila. “He popped up as reserved and I was gutted. This happened twice but a little while later he popped up again and this time it was me who did the reserving!"
Sheila took Jack on as a youngster project and did all the groundwork herself to introduce him to driving and riding. Friend Lacey Smith now rides him at shows while Lacey’s father Andrew is groom and helper and Sheila is immensely grateful to both of them for the generous support they provide.
Jack rarely comes home without a rosette and one of last year’s most impressive accolades was being awarded the title of Gypsy Cob of Great Britain at the Royal London Show at Keysoe, Bedfordshire in September.
Laura Pearce, Horse Rehoming Coordinator at Blue Cross Burford continues: “In the two years that Sheila has had Jack he has represented Blue Cross in in hand showing, driving and ridden showing, going from green two-year-old to a winning show horse under saddle. We are so proud of them both for qualifying for the Hickstead Royal International and will be rooting for them on 24 July.”
Blue Cross recently offered Sheila the opportunity to take on the full ownership of Jack under their ownership transfer scheme. She jumped at the chance and has effusively thanked the charity for allowing him to become officially hers.
“But actually, it is Blue Cross who should be thanking Sheila for giving Jack such a wonderful home,” says Laura.
Blue Cross rehomes its horses and ponies on a monitored loan basis. Following a successful loan period, the ownership of some horses can be transferred to the loan home. This enables the charity to free up resources to take in even more homeless horses that need their help.
The charity has plenty of young quality horses and ponies like Jack who are looking for new homes.