Neglected horse becomes mentor to young people ten years after rescue.
Our long term supporters may remember the story of Buddy. We thought you might like to see what he's up to these days.
In January 2011, staff at HorseWorld worked around the clock to save the life of the young cob who arrived at the charity’s welfare department weighing just a third of his ideal body weight.
Now, ten years later, Buddy is a fully trained Equine Assisted Learning pony, helping young people who are struggling to learn in a classroom environment.
Young people are often referred to HorseWorld’s Discovery Courses with a wide range of complex and challenging social, emotional and mental health needs or learning difficulties. They complete a 6-week course alongside the rescued horses. It is a chance to learn vital life skills outside of the classroom setting in a positive and encouraging environment.
HorseWorld's rescued horses have been given a second chance and have beaten the odds to survive. This resonates with a lot of children who are struggling to overcome difficulties in school and in their personal lives resulting in strong bonds forming between students and horses.
Horses naturally desire calm and strong leadership and have no preconceived judgements, allowing the students to develop relationships based on mutual respect.
HorseWorld Groom, Kayleigh Sivier helped to give Buddy the care and medication he needed when he was so emaciated and ill. “He looked ready to die and was so weak that his head had to be supported by grooms. It took a drip and six blood transfusions to give Buddy the strength to support his own weight. He had to be lifted to his feet every two hours day and night for the first two weeks.
“If he laid down, he was unable to get himself back up again and became distressed that he couldn't get to his food. He couldn't be left lying on his side for too long. In his efforts to get up, he would rub sores on his shoulders, hips and head where his bones protruded through his fragile skin. Buddy’s bed had to be very deep with huge banks of straw around the edges for him to push against while we were lifting him.”
On arrival at HorseWorld Buddy weighed just 108kg and his frail skeletal frame was hidden beneath his thick, matted winter coat. He should have weighed around 280-300kg at his age. He was also suffering from severe diarrhoea that was full of redworm.
Once nursed back to health and allowed to mature, HorseWorld’s team of specialist trainers worked with Buddy to train him to be ridden. The aim was to find him a new home on the charity’s loan scheme where he would receive all the love and one-to-one attention he deserves. Buddy did find a home but had to return to the charity through no fault of his own.
HorseWorld is dedicated to ensuring every horse and pony have a safe, secure home for the rest of their life. Now, a decade later, Buddy is fighting fit and giving no clues to his traumatic start in life.
Buddy’s medical care cost over £2,600 in the first three weeks alone. Vet fees and feed costs continued to accumulate throughout his rehabilitation. Welfare Yard Manager, Sarah Hollister commented “This was one of the worst cases of neglect HorseWorld had seen in a long time, the fact that Buddy kept fighting was enough inspiration for us to fight just as hard to save his young life.
“Now, seeing him enjoying life and making such a difference to children and young people makes it all worthwhile. He clearly loves his work and will whicker to the children as they arrive. He’s helped so many young people to build their confidence and communication skills, he really is a special pony.
“Buddy is now fully recovered but is just one of many rescue cases that HorseWorld helps. The winter being the busiest time when the cold weather and lack of grazing means that horses that are abandoned or neglected become emaciated and ill very quickly.”
HorseWorld relies on the generous support of the public to be able to rescue horses in need and to be able to run the life-changing Discovery Courses that Buddy takes part in.
An appeal has been launched to help even more young people and more rescued horses to have a future with clear direction and focus, a positive purpose in life.
If you wish to donate to HorseWorld’s Discovery Courses, and be a part of this life-changing program, offering a safe space and an exciting new future for both the young people and the horses and ponies that work with them, please visit www.horseworld.org.uk/discovery-appeal
Buddy is on our Adoption scheme where you can sponsor him and receive a cuddly toy and other gifts. Find out more here.