Star, a pony who made headlines after being found with a head collar embedded in his muzzle in 2013, has stepped up to champion World Horse Welfare’s Rehome a Horse Month.
Star, who had such a challenging start to life, is flourishing in the care of Charlotte Shepherd.
Star was just two months old when found with the embedded headcollar, which had not been adjusted as he grew. It created gruesome injuries.
Today, Star is completely unrecognisable and has grown into a handsome, confident pony – loving life with Charlotte in Hertfordshire.
When Star was rescued by World Horse Welfare field officer Nick White, he was rushed to the Royal Veterinary College in Potters Bar where he needed surgery to remove the headcollar that had become deeply embedded in the flesh of his face. It had damaged his nasal bone and was causing him immense pain.
Once well enough, he was moved to the charity’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre to begin his rehabilitation. He had never been handled so was very fearful of humans but with dedicated care and attention he slowly began to make progress.
The damage from the headcollar was so severe that he is left with permanent scarring and damage to his facial bones, but thankfully this doesn’t prevent him from leading a normal, happy life.
Shortly before Christmas 2014, Star found a loving new home with Charlotte and the pair quickly became inseparable.
“When I first saw the story about what had happened to Star I couldn’t quite believe it; the extent of his injuries was horrific and the fact he was so young,” Charlotte says.
“I couldn’t quite get my head around how or why anyone would let this happen. I knew I needed to help him and offer him his forever home; I had the space for him and the knowledge with youngsters – I knew it was the right thing to do. I applied for him straight away.
“Star has quite literally come on leaps and bounds since I’ve rehomed him. He was still quite nervous when he first arrived so it has taken time and lots of TLC to make him the pony he is today. He really is my best friend, a true mummy’s boy!
“I have spent a lot of time with Star just getting him to regain trust in us humans – lots of handling, grooming and just spending the time with him. It has been hard work and we had days which were better than others but overall he is so well behaved. I know I always say it but Star is a true superstar with a cracking little personality.”
She said Star might not be the biggest pony in physical size, but his personality certainly made up for it.
“He is absolutely the boss of his field and likes to keep his friends in line, whilst always being inquisitive and making sure he investigates everything he can get his nose on (or in!).
“He’s been enjoying learning about the world and developing his education so I know he has a bright future ahead and I’m hoping he can be backed to ride in the future.”
Charlotte said she highly recommended rehoming to other people.
“There are so many horses out there in need of their forever home and when one pony is rehomed it makes space for the next one who is need of help from the World Horse Welfare. Also rehoming a horse or pony is so rewarding, I have loved watching Star grow into a lovely, confident pony.”
World Horse Welfare is in the midst of its Rehome a Horse Month, with activities aimed at highlighting the benefits of rehoming. There were many horses and ponies still looking for a home, it said.
Each year, the charity rehomed around 300 horses and ponies, with over 1800 currently out in homes around Britain.
The charity’s deputy chief executive, Tony Tyler, said there were many reasons why rehoming should be the go-to option for anyone looking for a new horse or pony.
“Not only can you be guaranteed of complete honesty and transparency, but you also receive the support and back up of the World Horse Welfare team, plus the safety net that the horse or pony can be returned to our care at any time should your circumstances change.
“We are so grateful to all of our fantastic rehomers who are giving these horses and ponies 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 rehomed horses and ponies cannot do.”
Learn more about World Horse Welfare’s rehoming scheme here.