Brown ponies Treacle and Candy eating grass

Best friends reunited

Treacle and Candy are back together after five years apart...

Despite spending five years apart, Treacle and Candy’s bond is stronger than ever.

And seeing the Shetlands happily reunited and enjoying life together alongside her other Blue Cross rescue pony, Bubbles, brings their owner Joanna Robins daily joy.

Bookend bay mares Treacle and Candy, both 15, first arrived at our Burford horse unit in 2011 as part of a large welfare case in bad condition.

Initially rehomed together, they found themselves back at Blue Cross five years later due a change in their then-owner’s circumstances.

Joanna, from Oxfordshire, then rehomed Candy in 2016 as a companion for skewbald Shetland Bubbles, who is now 12, but Treacle had already found another home.

“Fast forward another five years and Treacle was once again returned to Blue Cross,” explains Lauren Bush, Horse Rehoming Coordinator.

Treacle, Candy and Bubbles out in the field in the sunshine eating grass

Joanna, who soon spotted Treacle on our website, says: “It didn’t take long to decide that she had to come and live with us – she and Candy had lived together as a pair for five years and always been in the same herd, so I was sure it was the right thing to do!”

Nervous that the two ponies may not remember that they were old friends, Joanna introduced them over a fence – but the pair instantly recognised each other in what turned out to be an emotional and heart-warming reunion.

“I was a little bit concerned about them because they hadn't seen each other for such a long time,” says Joanna.

Joanna with Treacle, Candy and Bubbles
Joanna's three Shetland ponies bring her lots of daily joy

“But really and truly, they were absolutely fine. Candy was so excited. She did miss most of the moment because she was running around the field with excitement. So, when we finally got her to calm down, we put them in together.

“They were very, very pleased to see each other – just thrilled to be back together. The pair of them are very sweet.”

With Bubbles in the mix, it took the trio a short time to find their hooves, but were soon living in harmony, with confident Treacle the natural leader.

Treacle and Candy led out to a field by Joanna and Jenny

“Candy isn’t naturally a lead pony,” explains Joanna. “But because Bubbles has always been bottom of the pecking order, she took the place of a lead pony.

“Treacle has come in and is definitely a lead mare. But she has the confidence to take that role without having to assert it too much. And Candy is much happier for being in that position.”

Candy has also grown more confident since having her old friend around.

Headshots of Treacle and Candy, a pair of brown Shetland ponies
Treacle and Candy are happiest together

“Candy could be quite highly strung and a little bit nervous and anxious,” says Joanna.

“But Treacle is the opposite of that, she’s very confident and you can do most things with her. It’s almost like she’s been there and done it all.

“So, Candy actually takes a lot of confidence from her and has definitely benefited from having her around. She’s much more chilled about everything.”

Treacle and Candy eating grass

Joanna, who also has two ridden ponies and a pair of rescue alpacas, continues: “Treacle and Candy are living their best life, totally joined at the hip and sharing their hay, like they’ve never been apart.”

And seeing this special bond has brought huge rewards to Joanna and friend, Jenny, who helps to care for them.

Joanna says: ”It’s so lovely to see ponies bonding in the way they have bonded. It’s lovely to have horses around full-stop, but I think what’s been particularly nice for me has been the times that I’ve been able to relax and spend time with them.

Candy wearing a purple harness nuzzles Joanna
Joanna finds great reward in seeing Treacle and Candy's bond

“All of them are very sweet-natured and they’ll come and spend time with you. They’ll nuzzle me and look for snacks.”

Joanna enjoys competing in Shetland agility contests with the trio, as well as practising lunging and driving.
And each year, on Boxing Day, Joanna takes Treacle and Candy down to her local village in what has become an annual highlight for the children there and raises vital funds for Blue Cross.

She adds: “If you get ponies and you’re not riding them, they can still bring so much pleasure. Just spending time with them is a lovely thing to do. Like having any pet and working with them and teaching them; it’s rewarding in itself.”

— Page last updated 14/07/2023