Rafiki, a young cob rescued from a miserable life of fly grazing and neglect, has landed on his feet in his new home.
The handsome cob, who was named after the baboon in the Lion King because of his indomitable spirit, was found fly-grazing in Buckinghamshire with several others.
Three ponies had already been found dead at the site and a further two had to be euthanased as a result of a condition caused by an encysted small redworm infestation.
Rafiki, at just 18-months-old, needed urgent veterinary attention to ensure he didn’t suffer the same fate.
He was nursed back to health by the team at our Burford rehoming centre and within weeks was looking much healthier.
Understandably wary of people, he was gently introduced to basic handling until he was happy to be groomed and to have his feet trimmed.
He was then put in short-term foster care to get him ready for a permanent home.
Rafiki is now living like a king in his new home with Margaret. She suffers with severe arthritis and following radical surgery earlier this year is now unable to walk and needs a power wheelchair.
Rafiki has turned her life around. “He gives me a reason to get up in the morning,” she says.
Unrecognisable as the shabby waif he once was, he is her pride and joy. Margaret is an experienced horse handler who has, amongst other things, worked with semi-feral young New Forest ponies.
She was determined not to let her wheelchair curtail her lifestyle: “Once I had got used to the wheelchair I was bored, getting fat, and really missed fresh air and equine company.
“I looked at the Blue Cross website and there he was. It was instant. We went to see him and he was perfect. He was not the slightest bit bothered by the wheelchair and quite happily sniffed me all over.”
Margaret handles Rafiki every day and in time she plans to introduce him to as much as she can, including a saddle, bridle, rugs and a trailer. With the help of her daughter she hopes to be able to take him for walks round the village and the farm where he will become familiar with traffic and tractors.
Vicki Alford, Horse Manager at Blue Cross in Burford, says: “We couldn’t have asked for a better home for Rafiki.
“We are currently inundated with lovely young cobs like him and are desperate to find them good homes before winter sets in and our resources become tighter.
“If you are an experienced horse owner with the knowledge, time and facilities to give a youngster a home, please get in touch.”