Dougie, who was a favourite with presenter Steve Jones, is now turning his hoof to show jumping with the Adams family in Staffordshire. Meanwhile little Puffin is in pony paradise with the Mansell family in Buckinghamshire.
The Adams family gave Dougie a home after meeting him at Blue Cross in Rolleston five years ago. His future had looked bleak initially because of the severe starvation he had suffered as a foal, which had left him with neurological and coordination problems. But, specialist staff at the charity spent months of dedicated care to get him back on his hooves and ready to find a loving family. Already caring for another Blue Cross pony Samantha Adams and her daughter Hannah felt that they could give Dougie the love, care and companionship that he’d been lacking.
Dougie was chosen to feature on Animal Rescue Live as an example of what an abandoned pony with little hope can turn into thanks to the work of dedicated charity staff. Channel 4 spent an entire day with the family and Dougie behaved immaculately throughout, much to Samantha and Hannah’s pride.
Samantha recalls: “Dougie has amazed us all. With love and attention he has gone from strength to strength. We began to ride him last year and he’s turned into a little star! He’s already won lots of dressage competitions and is now showing a talent for jumping!”
Little Puffin also featured on the show during the summer and is now happily ensconced in her new home with pony-mad Emily Mansell and her family in Buckinghamshire. The pretty seven-year-old mare took a long time to learn to trust humans again, having suffered some of the most shockingly cruel treatment the Blue Cross has ever known. She wowed the Animal Rescue team when she was filmed for the show and Emily, who had first met Puffin at Blue Cross Burford the previous week, was even more smitten when she saw the cute pony on the big screen.
Emily’s mother Jane Mansell said: “Puffin travelled well and quickly settled in with our retired New Forest pony Maisy. Because we are lucky enough to keep Puffin at home she continuously sees us and her confidence is growing every day. She happily comes over for her token feed every morning and we are continuing with her clicker training, which Blue Cross showed us, and it’s working really well. She can still be a little nervous but she has improved so much. I am sure this is because of how she was handled at Blue Cross and also because she knows how much we love her.”
Ann Bisset, Blue Cross Horse Groom said: “Dougie’s transition into an all round riding pony is unbelievable and seeing Puffin’s journey from a scared, traumatised pony to the happy, confident girl she is today is wonderful. I couldn’t be happier to see what fantastic, loving homes they now have. The days of cruelty and sadness couldn’t be further behind them now and that is all we hope for, for all our horses.”
National pet charity, Blue Cross has two specialist horse rehoming centres at Burford and Rolleston and 11 Centres nationwide.