The BHS are giving neglected horses a Second Chance at life and meeting some colourful characters along the way…
Tommy and Angus are the dynamic duo currently residing at BHS Approved Marros Riding Centre. As British Horse readers will have read, Tommy was abandoned on the road as a weak and underweight yearling, and best friend Angus was taken from a banned breeder into charity care. Rescued by the RSPCA and rehomed from North Yorkshire into Marros Riding Centre in Pembrokeshire through the BHS, the pair have flourished under the guidance of the BHS qualified professionals who work there.
Tommy and Angus recently returned from their stay at a local centre that specialises in backing youngsters, where they spotted big potential in both ponies. On first arrival Angus was sharp to trot and canter, and Tommy demonstrated his boldness when out hacking. They spent the first three weeks doing groundwork and hacking out with an eye towards eventually having them ready to be ridden by novice riders. Little did Tommy and Angus know, their new lives had only just begun. Marros took over the reins to continue the inroads made in their education that will one day see the pair taking part in trekking activities and teaching the joy of working with horses and ponies to children through BHS programmes such as Pony Stars.
“Angus is definitely the boss,” observes Marros Riding Centre proprietor, Hazel. “He adores everybody. You can tell he’s quite cheeky and used to people now he’s had more time around them.” Hazel certainly had the measure of the pair quite quickly when, on their first night, Tommy and Angus escaped their isolation field only to be found snoozing happily, flat out on the driveaway the next day. Both Tommy and Angus have taken well to being handled by vets and riding centre staff alike and have both been described as super ponies with a lot of love to give.
Since the British Horse team’s visit to Pembrokeshire to meet Tommy and Angus, they’ve continued to come along in leaps and bounds. Tommy is pictured here learning what it’s like to be a riding school pony with his first experience of the annual council licensing visit. On this part of the visit, the vet is checking Tommy’s saddle to ensure it’s a good fit.
Tommy is already used to seeing the vet for all his routine healthcare, however, and he stood very quietly indeed for his annual vaccinations. What a good lad!
BHS Approved Riding Centres are uniquely placed to rehabilitate equines such as Tommy and Angus. They are home to BHS qualified professionals with vast experience and knowledge which has proven invaluable when rehoming equines from difficult backgrounds. With the UK in the midst of an ongoing welfare crisis, it is vital that rescue horses and ponies are rehomed into the hands of those with the expertise to support their rehabilitation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also hit riding centres hard, with the price of horses skyrocketing. The Second Chance programme enables centres to invest their time and experience into rehabilitating a horse themselves, an option that wouldn’t be available to many of them without the Second Chance programme. Riding centres have struggled to survive during the pandemic with frequent closures and lockdowns; Second Chance therefore has the dual purpose of giving rehomed equines the care and expertise they deserve, whilst also supporting the centres to continue to be able to offer future generations of children the chance to benefit from all the joy horses have to give.
Tommy and Angus have been able to rest, recover and rediscover a better life because of Second Chance. Support us to give all rescue horses a brighter future and a safe home to call their own.