Tiny foal rescued from car

Crammed into the back of a car by a group of reckless youths, Gary must have been terrified

Thank goodness police pulled over the vehicle and rescued the Shetland pony before he came to any more harm.

He soon found himself at our Burford rehoming centre in Oxfordshire, where our dedicated team started work to help the foal overcome his traumatic start to life.

Not only was Gary thin and in terrible condition, he was merely a shell of what a happy, inquisitive foal should be.

Petrified of people, he preferred to be alone and would just stand – sad and forlorn – in his stable for days on end after his arrival at Blue Cross.

“He was terrified; he would do anything to get away from you or would sometimes just stand there and close his eyes and put his head to the floor as if he was thinking: ‘If I can’t see you, then you can’t see me’.”

Emily Lambert, Rehoming Coordinator

Bay pony, Gary, in a field eating some grass

From then on, the Burford horse team worked on getting him used to the many things any well-kept pony would have experienced – from wearing a head collar and grooming, to visits from the vet and farrier.

We always knew that he would come round eventually, and towards the end of his time with us, he had started playing with the other horses and would start whinnying when we approached.

Luckily, Louise Coulson was looking for a friend for her miniature pony Zebby, who had lost his own companion, Dolly, a few months before.

And soon, Gary was on his way to start his new life in the Suffolk countryside with Louise and her husband Richard.

Gary and his owner Louise, with another pony

Gary with owner Louise, and pony Zebby

Now four, the pony is unrecognisable from the scared and withdrawn boy he once was.

“He was very, very scared of people, which is what you would expect from a pony that hadn’t had a very good start. And I really did start to worry initially that we wouldn’t be able to do anything with him.

Louise, Gary's new owner

“He would just back into the corner of the stable and be too frightened to come near me at all. It was a slow process to get him to trust us.”

But now, he has an unbreakable bond with Louise. With her by his side, he approaches most situations with bravery.

Louise added: “It’s very rewarding to see him come out of that shell and become a confident, happy pony.”

No animal should have to suffer the start to life that Gary had, so it’s wonderful to see him thriving and continuing to develop so well in his new home.

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