Foal who was abandoned when just a few days old becomes social media star

Aimi Clark

An 11hh dappled grey pony who was abandoned when he was just a few days old has been rehomed by social media star This Esme.

Duke was rescued by World Horse Welfare as a foal in May 2020 after being abandoned. At just a few days old, he was too young to survive without his mother.

The pint-sized Welsh Mountain pony needed emergency veterinary treatment before he was relocated to the charity’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, where he was hand-reared by staff.

Esme has over 660,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, This Esme, and over 5 million views a month.

Her latest video, which charts her very early morning start and journey to Somerset to collect Duke and take him home, as well as his introduction to her other horses, was viewed so many times that it appeared in YouTube’s Top 20 slot.

Duke is settling into his new home

“Duke is doing so well. He is settled and happy in his new home and really likes the attention and cuddles he is getting, as well as being a friend for my cremello pony, Mickey,” said Esme, who first met Duke while filming at the Somerset charity and then applied to adopt him through the charity’s online rehoming system.

“When filming at Glenda Spoon Farm this little pony came up to me, had his face in the camera, and seemed to love the attention,” added Esme. “Duke is an amazing little guy with a lot of character.”

Duke will appear in future This Esme videos with his next one showing him settling into his role as a companion for Esme’s other horses and what he got up to during his first week in his new home.

Profile image of Aimi Clark Aimi Clark


As the editor of Your Horse Online, Aimi oversees all our digital content. She has worked in equestrian media for over 15 years and joined Your Horse as editor in 2017. Aimi has owned and ridden horses all her life. She grew up on a farm in Devon and was a Tetcott & South Tetcott Pony Club member, joining with her first pony — a New Forest called Prudence — before moving on to a Danish Warmblood called Marcus and competing in all activities, but particularly enjoying eventing. She has rehomed and retrained more than 10 ex-racehorses and dabbled in point-to-pointing. There have been plenty of bumps, setbacks and heartache along the way, as well as a lot of fun and many successes. Aimi has two young children and she still loves ex-racehorses. You can often find her hacking her Thoroughbred in the Oxfordshire countryside, flying the flag for Your Horse's #Hack1000Miles challenge.

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