This time last year the future looked very bleak for a foal which had been given sanctuary at stables in Leyland after being rescued from almost certain death.
Hope was found almost drowning in mud after falling into a ditch. The neglected chestnut mare was too weak to stand when she was rescued by horse-lover Wendy Fowler and her her equine vet daughter Vikki.
The mare was also entangled in barbed wire and, after £1,500 was paid by Wendy and Vikki to rescue her, she was lifted by crane into a horse box and taken to stables in Leyland.
The duo nursed her round the clock and earlier this year they were delighted after her former owner was prosecuted for more than 50 counts of animal cruelty.
He had already admitted two counts of failing to protect the animals from pain, injury and suffering and two counts of failing to provide a suitable environment.
Now though Wendy and Vikki are celebrating not only Hope’s return to good health but an historic year which has seen her scooping equine awards, along with her adopted “brother” Jack who was also rescued.
Wendy sold her home and bought her own stables so she can carry on looking after rescued horses.
She said: “My daughter went to hell and back but thankfully the ordeal is over
“Hope is just amazing. When I think back to where she was this time last year we didn’t’ think she would make it through each night.
“She is such a star. She’s got her own personality and is a real character.”
Wendy added that she is now “as fit as a fiddle” and surpassed all expectations when she was entered into a big international craft and rescue horses show and won her class.
Proud Wendy said: “She is absolutely brilliant. Stunning. Vikki did her up, putting her hair into plaits and she looked beautiful. It is hard to believe the way she was not that long ago.
We rescued another of the ponies from the same field and had to keep that secret, but he is great as well and went to the show.” Vikki, who works at a veterinary practice in Horwich, has also been named Vet of the Year this year and travelled to London to collect her award.
Hope was kept at stables in Farington Moss, near Leyland until Wendy decided to sell her home and buy a farm where she already houses four horses as well as eight rescued lambs which had been left without food and water – and expects to fill the rest of her stables in no time.