A mare who was rescued hours from death as a foal and waited six years to be adopted is now thriving in her forever home.

Bay thoroughbred-type Hope was taken in by the RSPCA after she was abandoned at just six months old. She was found unable to stand, emaciated and covered in lice.

She was taken to veterinary hospital, where she was given urgent treatment where she began to slowly recover.

Once Hope was strong enough to leave the vets, she was cared for at a specialist RSPCA boarding yard for several months, before moving to RSPCA Southridge in Potters Bar in May 2014, where staff began appealing to find her a new home.

The Southridge team were baffled at the lack of interest in potential rehomers for Hope, until finally, six years later, her fortunes changed.

Yorkshire-based Lauren Barker spotted Hope’s profile on the RSPC’s rehoming page last year and immediately knew she was the perfect horse for her.

“It was strange. The moment I saw her photo, I knew she was the one. I don’t know how, but I knew,” Lauren told Your Horse.

“Then when I read her profile, I knew for sure that I wanted her. I started to look for and read articles about her and I was just astonished at what she had been through and that nobody had snapped her up.”

Lauren said she was shocked how easily Hope settled into her new yard.

“When I first got her and it was warm out, she would be outside and see me jump over into the field and she’d just trot over to me and walk alongside me to get her food,” she said.

“Now that she’s stabled, I get very loud nicker or neigh when she sees me (and her food!). She’s also made lots of horse and pony friends and is very popular with people as well.”

Lauren has fallen in love with Hope’s enthusiastic personality.

“She just has such a zest for life and it’s so sweet to see, especially when we’re out for a walk – she just appears to be amazed by everything she sees, farm animals, fields, trees, sunsets, it’s truly heart-warming,” she said.

“She also, of course has a sassy side. She likes to paw the floor when I’m not paying full attention to her, enjoys taking my hat off my head when I’m trying to muck out or talk to someone and she’s definitely figuring out how to get in my coat pockets where I hide the treats.

“My hopes for the future is that Hope has a happy, fulfilled life, no matter what she does. I would love to get her doing agility work and light hacking, but whatever happens, as long as she’s happy then I’m happy.”

RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre manager Anna White said she and staff were thrilled Hope had finally found her forever home.

“She is one of the most special rescue horses we have ever known and she really deserves this wonderful, happy ending,” she said. “We miss her terribly, but we are over the moon that she’s finally started her new life.

“If Hope and Lauren’s story has inspired you to consider rehoming a rescue horse, we would love to hear from you.”

Lauren also encouraged others to consider rehoming.

“If it’s something you can do, then please, do it,” she said. “Seeing the love on their face and the progress they show as your journey continues is just amazing.

“So many animals out there need help and a loving home, so if it’s something you can afford, if you have the right home, right environment and a lot of love to give, please go for it – you won’t regret it.”

Find out more about rehoming an RSPCA horse or pony at www.rspca.org.uk/homesforhorses

You can follow Hope’s journey on Instagram via @alittletaleofhope