An RSPCA rescue pony has joined the stables of double Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin.
The dressage champion fell in love with the scrawny black foal when he came into the RSPCA’s care on welfare grounds shortly before Christmas last year* (2013) and she nicknamed him Santa.
Charlotte said: “Santa’s going to have a really great life, he’s going to be a field companion for one of my younger horses, Vogue, and who knows what will happen in the future as he grows, maybe he could be another Olympic champion?”
Charlotte won double Olympic gold at London 2012, was the European Champion in 2013 and holds all three world records in dressage. Just this month she also won the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Lyon on her horse, Valegro.
The dressage star fell for the foal when she met him through a friend who cares for horses on behalf of the RSPCA. She called him Santa and asked her sponsors Bucas for a rug small enough for the foal who was so tiny he was wearing a dog coat to keep him warm.
The medalist proved she has a heart of gold and decided to offer him a great new home.
She said: “I fell in love with him when I first saw him and I said ‘I’ll rescue him’. There are hundreds of horses and ponies which need homes, it has has really opened my eyes to what’s going on.
“It would be great if more people could rescue, you don’t need to breed them, there’s some lovely horse and ponies there. I’m really pleased I’m able to help the RSPCA.”
RSPCA rehoming officer, Gareth Johnson, said: “It is fantastic that someone of Charlotte’s standing is taking on a rescued pony. We know he will now have the best life in her care, he really has struck gold.
“We and other charities are currently in the grip of a horse crisis. Record numbers of horses are being dumped, neglected and abused.
“There are more than 800 horses and ponies in the care of the RSPCA and we desperately need good homes for them so we hope that lots more people will now see the benefit of giving a rescued horse a second chance in life.”
To find out how to rehome a horse from the RSPCA please go to http://www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/horses/rehoming