A pony that was so weak he collapsed upon arrival at Redwings Horse Sanctuary has made a miraculous recovery and found a new forever home.
Seven-year-old 13hh cob cross, Oakley, was given a very warm welcome when he arrived at his new loving home with Guardian Laura Elsegood, and new best friend and rider, Leo, this autumn.
The sight of the happy and healthy pony walking down the ramp of his horsebox into his new home is a stark contrast to that of the emaciated weanling Redwings’ team first led into the ambulance following his rescue in 2011.
Oakley’s owner had contacted the charity asking for urgent help after struggling to treat his pony’s severe worm infestation.
Oakley was incredibly weak and unable to support his own body weight; he needed to be manually lifted by Redwings’ vet team day and night to prevent his skin forming nasty sores.
Despite deep concerns that he wouldn’t pull through, determined Oakley gained 11st within six months and has since gone on to spend many happy years living at Redwings’ Aylsham Visitor Centre, north of Norwich, where his friendly nature and loveable character made him stand out as an excellent candidate for the rehoming programme.
Rachel Angell, Redwings’ Operations Manager who heads up the charity’s rehoming programme, said: “I remember the day Oakley arrived; we were in tears at the sight of him. His chances of pulling through were very slim but he amazed us all with his sheer determination to survive. Thinking back to how he was then and seeing him now in his new home makes me feel so proud.”
Oakley is among almost 500 Redwings horses living in Guardian homes with many going on to successfully enjoy all kinds of disciplines from showing to cross country. Oakley has been rehomed as the perfect first-pony for his new young rider Leo, aged 11.
Leo’s mum Laura said: “A friend of mine rehomed Redwings Thyme and she is an amazing little pony that Leo learnt to ride on, so we kept an eye on the Redwings website to rehome a pony ourselves.
"When I saw Oakley I knew he would be the ideal first pony for Leo and friend for my ex-racehorse Star. Oakley has been settling in well and is building a loving friendship with Leo, it’s so lovely to watch! We have even taken Oakley on a charity ride where we all had a lovely time!”