Social media star Pedro the Shetland retires

Youtube star and hard-working Shetland pony, Pedro, is hitting the hay and retiring to the Surrey countryside after three years at children’s charity, Ebony Horse Club, south London.

During his time in the capital, the much-loved miniature has cultivated quite a following.

Brixton’s Shetland pony has courted royalty, Olympians, film stars and celebrities and shot to global fame in 2015 after winning hearts with a viral YouTube video that showed a periscope – later dubbed 'The Pedroscope' - being installed in Pedro's stable after he was struggling to see over his stable door.

Sadly for young members at Ebony Horse Club, Pedro has reached the age where arthritis has begun to set in and the team has decided that it’s time for retirement.

Dan Cook, who looks after the ponies in Brixton says: “It was a tough decision as he’s been such an asset to the Club and everyone loves having him here, but the welfare of the horses has to take priority, so he’s going to a wonderful home in Epsom that will help his condition.”

Pedro had the valuable role of introducing young people to ponies at Ebony Horse Club as well as working with children with disabilities. His petite stature – a mere 33 inches (84cm)  - meant that he was less intimidating than some of the bigger horses. A perfect host for those who've never come face to face with a horse before.

During his time at the Club, Pedro has met some notable names such as  TV presenter Clare Balding OBE, Team GB Show Jumping Gold Medalist Ben Maher MBE, best-selling author James Bowen and famous ginger tom, A Street Cat Named Bob and radio presenter Lauren Laverne.

Only last month, he charmed president of the Club, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, when she was visiting the centre to mark its 21st anniversary.

Wishing him a fond farewell, TV personality and national treasure, Clare Balding OBE said, "May I wish Pedro a very happy retirement after a life lived in the service of others. He has mastered the art of pretending to let children take control while dragging them towards a patch of tasty grass.

"He has been a marvellous mascot for Ebony Horse Club as they continue to help children grow in confidence, develop relationships with and learn the discipline of caring for another living being."

James Bowen, best selling author and owner of film star feline, Street Cat Bob commented, "Bob likes horses. We used to meet the Police horses when we were busking around Covent Garden but he'd never sat on one until we visited Ebony Horse Club and he got a ride on Pedro!

"It's an amazing charity that helps young people through introducing them to horses. I know the power that caring for an animal can have. The horses help the kids face their problems, like how Bob has helped me. I hope he enjoys his retirement. He deserves it.”

The diminutive star has been a firm favourite with young people and staff since joining the Brixton based charity, but it's his unlikely best pal Parker the miniature Poodle that will miss him one of the the most. They have built a strong bond during their time on the yard with the pedigree poodle enjoying rides on his back.

Owner Holly Lieberson, senior youth worker at Ebony Horse Club, said “Parker was super timid and afraid of everything. Then one day I found him sat next to Pedro in the yard and since then they’ve been inseparable pals. Parker is very sad to see Pedro go, as will we all”. 

Known for his particular love of hugs and cuddles, “Pedro makes me laugh” said member Andrew Smith,

“He’s got this funny thing he does with his hoof, when he knows there’s a carrot or something around he’ll scrape his foot on the ground to get your attention.” continued member,  Laura Fee.

Club member, Zoe Cardew (13) who likes plaiting Pedro’s mane and tail, “He’s pretty particular when it comes to his mane. He lets you know when you’re not plaiting it right, which is really sweet.”

Standing behind the tall, concrete tower blocks of Brixton's Loughborough Estate, London's Ebony Horse Club offers young people in a deprived inner city area the chance to learn to ride and interact with horses.

In this inner city neighbourhood, children battle with a plethora of problems at both home and school, leading to truancy, high rates of teenage pregnancy, self harm and homelessness.

Ebony Horse Club is a safe haven away from these problems, mentoring children through a mix of sessions with youth workers, as well as helping them get into colleges and employment using their newfound equestrian skills.

Read the latest news