He has gone from a nervous youngster to confidence-giving child’s pony, and now Nutkin has received the ultimate accolade: Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials People’s Choice Rehomed Superstar of 2017.
World Horse Welfare Nutkin was awarded the title after taking part in a finalists’ parade at the prestigious event at the weekend. This year World Horse Welfare was honoured as Burghley’s inaugural charity of the year.
The competition was a closely fought contest between six rehomed World Horse Welfare horses and ponies who made it to the final and paraded at Burghley, before the winner was announced by event rider Piggy French.
The public had been voting in their hundreds for which horse or pony should be chosen to receive the award and welsh pony Nutkin’s story helped him take the top spot.
The eight-year-old 12.3hh pony came into World Horse Welfare’s care in 2009 with a group of other horses and ponies from a ‘rescue’ centre where the owner had become unable to care for the animals any longer. Nutkin was underweight, listless and suffering from a lice infestation.
After undergoing rehabilitation, Nutkin was backed and rehomed to a family where he was ridden by two young children. He recently returned to World Horse Welfare and was rehomed earlier this year to Leah Fowler and her five-year-old daughter, Darcy, who has formed an inseparable partnership with him and together the pair compete at all Pony Club activities.
Eventer Piggy French, who helped present the winner’s sash and pair of Fairfax & Favor boots, said:
“So much hard work from the World Horse Welfare has gone in to get them to this point. The six who got to the final are amazing and a credit to all those concerned.
“It means so much to everyone who has looked after these ponies so well, Darcy had tears in her eyes, and it’s great to see,” French said.
“To see them so happy and loved is everything, they’ve got such life and they’re so wanted.”
Nutkin’s rehomer, Leah Fowler, said Nutkin has his cheeky tendencies like any pony, “but he is a superstar”.
“He is Darcy’s pony, that’s what I love about him, when he’s with me or anyone else he gets pulled about and is a jitterbug, but when he’s with Darcy he is a completely different character.
“He looks after her, enjoys her company and they just love each other – that’s what makes it so special.
“We’ve only had him since February, but they’re a match made in heaven.”
The winning announcement also marks the start of World Horse Welfare’s annual Rehome a Horse Month which this year takes place in September. The month of activity will showcase the many benefits of rehoming by highlighting case studies of rehomed horses and ponies as well as raising awareness of those currently searching for a new home.
World Horse Welfare has more than 1700 horses and ponies out in homes across the country, but there are always more looking to find a new partner or family where they can fulfil their potential.
World Horse Welfare Deputy Chief Executive Tony Tyler said the charity was grateful to all the finalists who paraded at Burghley, and to those who entered the competition throughout the four categories.
“These finalists are fantastic advocates for the many benefits of rehoming and also demonstrate the wide range of talents that our rehomed horses and ponies possess.
“I hope that anyone who has watched the parade or voted online will now be motivated to find out more about rehoming and who knows, they could be next year’s Rehomed Horse of the Year Superstars.
“We’d also like to thank the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials for sponsoring this category and hosting the final.”
The winners in the other three categories yet to be announced.
Find out more about rehoming at: www.worldhorsewelfare.org/rehoming