Norfolk rescue horse’s story is told on TV show Countryfile

Copyright Albanpix.com. Pic by Rob Howarth.Huckleberry the rescue pony pictured with groom Pip Fromm

Copyright Albanpix.com. Pic by Rob Howarth.Huckleberry the rescue pony pictured with groom Pip Fromm. Huckleberry was rescued last year and is the first horse to be taken in by World Horse Welfare under the new Control of Horses Act. - Credit: Albanpix.com

Huckleberry the horse looks a picture of health as he enjoys his new Norfolk home, but his happy ending could have been a very different story.

Copyright Albanpix.com. Pic by Rob Howarth.Huckleberry the rescue pony pictured with groom Pip Fromm

Copyright Albanpix.com. Pic by Rob Howarth.Huckleberry the rescue pony pictured with groom Pip Fromm. Huckleberry was rescued last year and is the first horse to be taken in by World Horse Welfare under the new Control of Horses Act. - Credit: Albanpix.com

For Huckleberry could have died of starvation if rescuers had not found the abandoned horse, and this evening his story features on BBC One's Countryfile programme.

As the EDP previously reported, the skewbald foal, who now lives at World Horse Welfare's Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Snetterton, was the first horse to come into the centre's care under the new Control of Horses Act which came into force last year. The act gives greater powers to landowners and local authorities to remove horses being grazed on public or private land without permission, shortening the time period before the horses become the property of the landowner from two weeks to just four days.

In the programme, filmed just before Christmas, Countryfile presenter Tom Heap meets Huckleberry and his rescuer Jacko Jackson who tells of how Huckleberry, and his less fortunate companion, were found in the Red Lodge area of Suffolk last year.

Ahead of the programme being broadcast, Mr Jackson, who worked with police to rescue the horses, explained they were originally found on wasteland at Red Lodge in July, but had disappeared before action could be taken. They turned up again in September at a former rubbish tip, but it was too late for Huckleberry's companion.

'The only way we could identify the horse was by its feet, everything else had been eaten by maggots,'

Mr Jackson said, adding that Huckleberry was depressed and underweight, and there were fears if he was not rescued he would suffer the same fate.

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Thankfully Huckleberry is now enjoying life in his new home.

Mr Jackson said: 'I saw him when we did the filming for Countryfile. He had got his life back. He had got a friend and they played constantly. It is very satisfying to see him doing so well, but it is also sad that we could not help the other one too.'

He said he hoped the episode of Countryfile would help to raise awareness of the problems of fly grazing, where a horse is left to graze on someone else's land without permission, and how the Control of Horses Act can help to crack down on the problem and improve the lives of many more neglected horses.

• Countryfile is on BBC1 tonight at 6.30pm.

• Is your Norfolk organisation going to be featured in a TV programme? Email emma.knights@archant.co.uk