A pony mad seven-year-old girl, who was given a less than 50 percent chance of survival when she was born prematurely at 24 weeks old, has defied all odds and is now fulfilling her riding dreams.

Peyton Keir’s rescue pony Skip also had a difficult start in life, and is only here today thanks to his dam being taken in by equine welfare charity Bransby Horses.

Rebecca Cutts, Peyton’s mother, said she decided to get a pony for her daughter two years ago following more than a year of shielding with Peyton during the initial covid outbreak. Rebecca had owned horses before she became a mum and decided the time was right to have a pony in the family once again.

“I just thought it might be something nice for us both to do together so we applied to foster a rescue pony from Bransby Horses,” she said. “We took Skip on just to have some fun with and he has just been incredible.

“What he has brought to mine and Peyton’s life is hard to put into words. But he brings me sanity, he makes us laugh every day, he calms Peyton and he’s so cheeky we love him to bits.

“Peyton and Skip have a real bond and I think she looks at him as her best friend. They are very similar characters, and they just seem to understand each other.”

Being stabled close to their local showground, Rebecca was able to take Skip and Peyton to their first shows early on in the partnership. Despite his young age and inexperience Skip rose to the challenge with great success.

Credit: Evey Leigh-Oldale Photography

“Within a month of having him he was in the show ring with Peyton on board and they both loved it,” said Rebecca. “Skip won his first show and of course I was in tears. I was so proud of them both. It wasn’t something we ever expected when we decided to get a pony. In fact, he was winning from day one, so at the end of the summer we decided to go bigger and have a go at the Traditional of the Year Show, (TOYS).

“On the day of the show we were up at 4am, at the stables for 5am and arrived at the showground in Olney for 8.30am. I just looked at it as an amazing experience for him and Peyton and never thought for a minute we would get placed.”

Peyton and Skip took the top spot in their class and were then back in the ring to contend the supreme title. Rebecca said Skip took it all is his stride when they walked into the arena a second time.

Credit: Evey Leigh-Oldale Photography

“They were playing Queen, ‘We are the Champions’ so it felt emotional from the start,” she said. “I looked around at the competition and thought we had no chance but, after we trotted him round and lined-up the man called over the loud speaker: ‘Champion and the Traditional Best Lead Rein of the Year 2023 goes to number 260, Peyton and Bransby Skip’.

“I couldn’t believe it; I had tears streaming down my face and poor Peyton was just in shock – she couldn’t believe it either. It was one of the best and proudest moments of my life.

“Peyton and Skip were utterly amazing. Skip was the best boy ever, he acted like a professional all day. We are and were so grateful to Bransby Horses for giving us such an amazing opportunity. We love our little Skip to the moon and back.”

Peyton is now looking forward to spending Christmas with her beloved pony.

As one of the UK’s largest equine welfare charities, Bransby Horses run a Perfect Partner Rehoming Scheme to provide rescued equines like Skip the chance to enjoy life in a carefully selected loan home, freeing up time and space for the rescue and rehabilitation of others.

To find out more about their work or to sponsor one of their equine residents click here.

Lead image by Evey Leigh-Oldale Photography

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