White pony Stan looking over stable door nuzzling Evie's head. Evie is wearing a pink and blue check shirt

Once-neglected pony now girl’s best friend

Starving and helpless, abandoned foal Stan was found collapsed and clinging to life.

Vets said the neglected cob, whose coat was so thickly matted that he looked like a sheep rather than a pony, was likely just one day away from death.

When he arrived at our Rolleston centre in Nottingham, the team could not believe the sorry state the poor boy was in – and immediately swung into action to help him.

On left Stan is lying on the floor, with a matted coat and covered in dirt. On the right he is clipped and standing but looking very skinny and sad.
Stan collapsed when he was found (left) and (right) after his fur was clipped away

Verity Anderton-Johnson, Horse Rehoming Co-ordinator, said: “When we first saw Stan, he looked more like a sheep than a pony due to how much hair he had. 

“His coat was all matted, full of mud and faeces – so the best thing to do was to clip the coat fully off as the matts were too big to brush out. After clipping him, we realised how poor his condition was.” 

We made sure Stan got the food and medication he needed to gain strength. And, while his fragile body mended, we also set about healing his mental scars – teaching him that humans could be kind.

Stan is enjoying a munch on some fresh green grass and wearing a Blue Cross headcollar

Verity continues: “Stan’s training came on quickly and he started to develop a lovely calm character for a youngster.”

Once he was well and confident enough, we found a home for Stan where he could continue his rehabilitation.

He now lives in a Cheshire paddock with fellow Blue Cross rescue pony, Sprout, and enjoys twice-daily visits from his best friend, 11-year-old Evie.

Laura Davey (left) with Stan and Evie and Sprout (right)
Laura with Stan (left) and Evie with Sprout (right)

Since her parents, Laura and Paul Davey, rehomed Stan a year ago, the pair have developed a special bond and Evie can often be found reading books to Stan, who is now two.

“Stan just adores Evie and as soon as he hears the car he comes running to the gate,” says Laura.

“He follows her everywhere and has to be involved with anything she's doing. He particularly loves story time and hearing about her day. In the words of Evie, a Stan cuddle makes everything better and all her worries just disappear."

Stan pulling a funny face and showing all of his teeth in his stable

Laura continues: “Stan likes Evie the best – she can do more with him than we can. When you think about it, it’s probably because she’s a child and a child won’t have done anything bad to him in his past.”

Evie says: “I can tell Stan anything, I can tell him all my secrets. He’s my best friend. 

“When Mummy saw him, we knew he needed a home as he had been in such a bad condition, and we thought he would be a good friend for Sprout. As soon as Sprout saw him, they were nuzzling each other”

Stan loves to be brushed by Evie, who says her pony pal “likes lots of attention". 

Evie reading to Stan, who is looking over her shoulder into the book
Evie can often be found reading to her best friend, Stan

Laura, who has another two Blue Cross rescue horses, Nelson and Bruno, is amazed by the transformation in Stan, who was shutdown and nervous when he first arrived with her.

“He’s so much more confident and will start the play now, whereas it was always Sprout before,” she says. 

Verity adds: “Seeing how much Stan has come on since being in Blue Cross care and now in his dream home is wonderful. We couldn’t have wished a more perfect home for him.”

Evie sitting down at a table reading with Stan by her side

— Page last updated 03/01/2023