Equine stars flock to support horse and donkey charity, Hope Pastures

When Hope Pastures was chosen as the Official Charity for Bramham the team put out a call on Facebook and Twitter for others to add to the herd to sell to raise funds at the event.

"We were astounded by the response," said Kim Pengelly, Fundraising & PR Co-ordinator, "I could hardly keep up with the requests for patterns and found I was still sending these out at 2am for several days!"

As well as selling (or re-homing!) the knitted ponies, Hope Pastures ran a Bag Drop, for shoppers to leave the goodies they'd bought, a raffle, with fantastic prizes donated by both equestrian and local companies, a tombola and a 'Test Your Core' competition, which even saw Mary King have a go.

Hope Pastures Horse & Donkey Sanctuary, specialises in selling knitted ponies as a fundraiser.

The ponies are all made by volunteers, some of whom meet regularly at a knitting group at the sanctuary each week. This means every pony is unique, but there is limited stock at any time.

"The overall amount raised over the four days was over £6,600 - beyond our wildest dreams," said Kim, "The sanctuary aims not only to rescue, but also to rehabilitate and re-home equines with new and loving families."

"We're small, with few overheads, so 95p of every £1 donated to us is sent directly on the animals, which means this money will be used to give a new life and hope to more animals. A massive thank you to everyone who made this possible."

"It was wild. Some were requests from existing supporters, but many were from people who just wanted to help, often also enlisting their mums and nanas."

"We found it unbelievably humbling that so many people were prepared to go out of their way to help us make the most of the opportunity of being Bramham's Official Charity."

One of the sanctuary's regular knitters made a special pony, George, for the Bramham team, and he and Hope Pastures' mascot, Mini-Muffin, had some fabulous adventures over the four days of the Trials, with cuddles from eventing celebrities, including as Zara Philips and Ollie Townend.

"Lots of visitors already knew about the ponies and many of them popped in to meet George and Mini-Muffin," Kim added, "We re-homed almost 300 knitted ponies - some people came and bought a several ponies at once, and some returned the next day for more. We've been sent pictures of them in their new homes, in lorries and out on the cross country course!

"We had less than 30 left at the end of the four days, but our knitting group is on the case already."