Video: Good neigh-bour Rory lends a helping hoof to blind pony Josh
10:00 07 June 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
A pony that lost its sight has been given a new lease of life, thanks to a little extra help from an old friend.
British spotted pony Josh was forced to take early retirement after going blind; and unable to see, he couldn’t go out to graze by himself as he would become disorientated in the fields at Croft Farm Riding Centre in Filby.
But that is where Rory, the grand old man of the stables, stepped in to help.
Thirty-one-year-old horse Rory has become Josh’s constant companion - and to make his pony playmate feel safe, he wears a head collar fitted with a bell while out in the fields so Josh knows where he is at all times.
Heather Cook, who runs the Croft Farm Riding Centre, said the pairing had hugely benefitted Josh, who began to lose his sight last year.
“I was really upset when we had to retire Josh because he’s been a brilliant Riding for the Disabled (RDA) pony,” said Heather.
“And like Rory, he’s been here a long time; I’ve had him since he was four years old.
“We thought it would make sense for them to be put out together and for Rory to babysit Josh. It’s working really well. You can really see the difference in Josh.”
While the pony, who is no spring chicken either at 24 years old, can no longer be used for RDA classes, he is still ridden by Holly Atkins keeping him physically and mentally active. And it is when he is being ridden by Holly that Josh is at his most free because, Heather said, he completely trusts his rider. Just last month he came third in a preliminary dressage competition.
For more information about RDA at Croft Farm call the riding centre on 01493 368275.