HUDDLED against his lice-ridden and half-starved mother for comfort in a boggy field, one-year-old pony Alfie was a quivering wreck when rescuers found him.
Months of doting care and nurturing at a World Horse Welfare re-homing centre would follow as Alfie set out on the long road to recovery.
Now six years on and Alfie has a new loving home in Broxburn – and has even taken to dressage and showjumping, winning his second competition.
“Alfie is one cheeky chappy. He is ever curious and loves ‘helping’ with everything,” said new owner Catherine.
“He attacks life with great enthusiasm, and I’ve never had the joy of riding a pony more excited to learn.
“He’s fazed by nothing and is happy to give anything a go, including being wrapped in tinsel for Christmas shows!
“Bursting with personality, Alfie is loved by everyone who meets him. He really is one in a million.”
Catherine and mum Jeanne took in Alfie in 2012 as a companion for their Welsh D mare Sky when moving to their own yard.
“Sky is often silly, spooky, and so we were looking for a very laid-back little gelding to keep her calm as well as keep her company. Alfie was perfect!
“At only one and a half years old he was so laid back he spent most of his day horizontal – literally.
“We fell in love with him and he fell in love with our shoe laces – we still to this day have no idea why he likes chewing shoelaces so much.”
But no one foresaw how well Alfie would take to competition. “Although not a natural jumper, he’s brave and honest, throwing his heart over the jump first and trying his best to follow it to the other side.”
So impressed has Catherine been with Alfie’s rapid progress, she hopes to start entering him for events, as well as trekking.
“Alfie loves to give everything a go so we think variety would suit his style,” said Catherine.
“We could not recommend re-homing a pony from World horse welfare more. Alfie brings smiles to everyone who meets him, and he, and so many rescue ponies, have so much to offer. We love him to bits, and would recommend re-homing to anyone looking for a forever friend.”
Charity World Horse Welfare organises an annual Re-home a Horse Month to highlight the benefits of re-homing – with more than 1,800 rescues currently out in homes around the UK.
World Horse Welfare Deputy Chief Executive, Tony Tyler, said: “We are so grateful to all of our fantastic re-homers who are giving these horses a second chance at the life they deserve and it really is incredible to hear of all the amazing things they are achieving.
“From loyal companions to horse agility superstars, lead-rein ponies to driving dynamos and hacking horses to show ring successes – it seems there is nothing re-homed horses and ponies cannot do!”
To find out more about re-homing visit: www.worldhorsewelfare.org/rehoming