How rescue pony Fern found good fortune

PUBLISHED: 15:44 24 September 2018 | UPDATED: 06:54 25 September 2018

Fern, with Danielle Pye's five-year-old son, Jayden. 
Photo: Redwings

Fern, with Danielle Pye's five-year-old son, Jayden. Photo: Redwings


Danielle Pye would advise anyone looking for a horse or pony to consider rehoming one from a welfare charity. She told Sheena Grant why.

When Danielle Pye lost Sparky, the pony she had owned since childhood, she was heartbroken, as was her five-year-old son.

Jayden had been learning to ride on the much-loved Welsh Section A, which Danielle had owned for 27 years, and she wasn’t sure how he’d take to a replacement - or even if they wanted one.

“Jayden just didn’t understand why he had gone. It was heart-breaking,” she says. “At first, we didn’t want another pony to replace him. I couldn’t even think about getting another one. It is so heart-breaking when you lose them.

“But a friend told me: ‘Never say never - there are lots of ponies out there that need homes’.”

Danielle thought about it and eventually decided her friend was right. She started to think about rehoming a pony from a welfare charity.

And six months ago, 13-year-old New Forest cross Fern came into their lives through the Norfolk-based charity Redwings, arriving, rather fittingly, on Mother’s Day.

“It was as if it was meant to be,” says Danielle. “I went onto the Redwings website and up popped Fern. We went to have a look at her and the rehoming team were so lovely and helpful. I didn’t know how Jayden would react to another pony but they really put him at ease. He had tried another pony previously but he wasn’t ready then. With Fern it was completely different.”

Fern has settled in well at stables in Hevingham and went to her first competition - the Aylsham Show - in the summer, winning the best rescue horse or pony in show as well as top prize in the plaited show pony class and second place in the angels on horseback class.

“I was so proud of them both it made me cry,” says Danielle, who lives in Sprowston. “After our experience I would advise anyone considering getting a horse to think about rehoming from a charity like Redwings. They have been so well-handled and checked, all their vaccines and everything are up to date and they are honest about the horse, which you can’t always guarantee if you get a horse privately.

“On top of that, you’re giving a home to a horse that may not have had the best start in life.”

Fern arrived at Norfolk-based Redwings in 2005 with her mother, Forest, when she was just three-months-old.

A member of the public had been concerned about an eye condition Fern had and so had reported them to the charity.

The pair were signed over to Redwings, where Fern could receive the veterinary treatment she needed, after one of the charity’s field officers attended and spoke to the then owner.

Happily, Fern made a full recovery and grew into a friendly and loving pony at the sanctuary. Before finding a new home with Danielle this year, she had spent time in another guardian home but, due to a change in personal circumstances, she was returned to the sanctuary through no fault of her own.

Redwings retains the ownership of any horse or pony that is rehomed through our guardianship scheme so if the circumstances of the guardian changes, there will always be a space for them back at the sanctuary. Fern’s mother, Forest, was also rehomed in 2014.

To find out more about Redwings’ guardianship scheme visit

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press