A seven-year-old rescue mare — barely recognisable as the welfare case she once — has exceeded all expectations, proving herself as a talented jumper and excelling in the show ring.

Olive (Brynithon Goldrush) was taken in by the RSPCA before being rehomed to Nelson Park Riding School through the Second Chance Project. When she proved unsuitable for riding school life, Kent-based Sophie Donaldson took an interest in the dun mare, and went to view her in December 2020.

Olive when she was first rescued

“She was a hairball and didn’t look like anything special through all the fluff,” Sophie told Your Horse. “But as soon as I jumped her I knew that she was special.”

Sophie bought the Welsh section D, with plans to enjoy some hacking and arena hires together, but she soon realised Olive had more potential. Since then, the pair have worked their way up to competing at British Eventing (BE) events and being crowned champions at Equifest.

Pocket rocket

Olive at Windsor

“She is super smart and lives to jump, so she progressed quickly and easily,” Sophie said. “I never expected her to go this far, but she has given me so much confidence. I know that I can just steer and point and she is going to go  over whatever she is aimed at. She has the heart of a lion.

“She is only 13.3hh, but doesn’t struggle with the horse strides around courses and is super speedy so always makes up the time.”

Sophie said her proudest moment with Olive was securing the Champion Rescue Pony title at Equifest in 2021 and having a spin in the evening performance. Olive also jumped at Royal Windsor Horse Show in the working hunter earlier this year, with just one unlucky pole.

“She lives at home with me and I mostly work from home so we spend a lot of time together,” added Sophie. “She’s my pony of a lifetime.”

Olive and Sophie

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