Rupert named rescue pony of the year
Rescue pony Rupert from Mare and Foal Sanctuary in Newton Abbot, has won a national award for transforming the life of a teenager who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy. The grey moorland gelding was shortlisted in the Rescue Pony of the Year category of the 2019 Carriage Driving Awards and he beat three other rescue ponies to the title.
Following months of rehabilitation and gentle training, he found a suitable home through the Mare and Foal Sanctuary’s rehoming scheme – with horse lover Caroline Furse and her son Ben, who was coping with more than 30 seizures a day caused by a rare form of epilepsy called Lennox Gastaux Syndrome.
When Ben became too large to ride Rupert, Caroline knew she had to do something to maintain their close bond. She organised a fundraising drive to have a harness and trap specially designed so Ben’s wheelchair would fit straight on.
Caroline, Sanctuary yard manager Abigail Alford-Thurlow and Communications Officer Scarlett Moon travelled to Birmingham for the awards ceremony. Caroline said, “It was such an honour to attend the awards and when they announced Rupert was the winner, I couldn’t hold back the tears. Rupert has changed Ben’s life for the better – he is a pony in a million.”
The rescue pony category was sponsored by equine charity, World Horse Welfare, and was presented by longstanding volunteer and Riding for the Disabled coach, Kim Tilbury.
She said: “I am passionate about equine rescue and I’m often inspired by their ability to assist the lives of those less able, so I was delighted to present the award to Caroline on behalf of Rupert – a well-deserved win for him and his young carer.”