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Shocking before and after transformation of a rescue horse

Rescue Horse Balmoral’s Transformation, One Year On

It’s been a year since we took in Balmoral, once a very sad pony in great need of care and, after a year of help we’re very happy to say that he has come on leaps and bounds. As you can see, nowadays he’s quite the dashing gentleman!

You may remember that he arrived to us just as the late Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was in procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall to lie in State. Given this significant moment in history and the apt timing, we decided to give Balmoral the name he has today. Fondly known as Bally by us all here, he is almost unrecognisable compared to when he arrived.

Bally came to us in a shocking state, after being sold ‘sight unseen’ to his previous owner as a 17.2hh Hunter. What arrived to them was just a baby, suspected to be 12-18 months old and certainly much smaller than his advertised height. On arriving he managed to jump out of his stable and into the paddock with horses that frankly beat him up.

When he came to us he was very underweight with an extremely low body condition score of just 1.5 out of 5, and struggling to get past the low weight of 300kg. He was riddled with lice, covered in wounds and in urgent need of being trimmed before the length of his hooves affected his development.

His biggest hurdle back then was simply surviving the treatment he desperately needed and overcoming his many sarcoids (a form of skin cancer). We’re happy to report that physically he is now fighting fitter and we’re incredibly relieved to say that he’s slowly but surely packing on the pounds, now weighing in at a much more reassuring 396.6kg.

Psychological scars

Although he’s overcome his serious medical concerns, as with any horses with a troubled past, there are often psychological scars left over. Bally exhibits behaviour known as ‘resource guarding’ which can prove challenging at feeding times. It is clear that Bally previously had to fight off competition to simply just eat, so the focus today is with helping him to trust that there’s enough food to go around in the field. To do this, we make sure we manage his environment carefully to ensure food time is as stress free as possible for him and the rest of the herd. This also prevents any future hunger behaviours from developing. We know that with time, patience, and a lot of love he will continue to improve.

New friendships

Nowadays, Bally and fellow rescue pony, Dobby come as quite the pair, not only in looks but in friendship, too. From a distance it can be hard to tell them apart, with the same leg markings, colourings and a similar conformation too… although Bally is still a growing boy and is much bigger than our little Dobster nowadays, standing at a horse-height of 14.3hh!

As Bally is still young the training team are bringing him on nice and slowly, getting him accustomed to standing in the stable, being around the farrier, and generally exposing him to everyday life at our Home of Rest for Horses.

Proud moments

One recent moment that stands out to us was during his first ever training demonstration in front of an audience. Bally has previously spent time in the sand school, but it was his first time being exposed to a group of this size. As it was still early days we kept things nice and simple and simply asked  him to stand – which he did, ‘like a rock’ according to horse trainer, Jen! This was no small feat for a young horse who had the difficult start in life he had. We were very proud of our Bally for this incredible achievement which displayed how much he had progressed since arriving as the nervous yearling he was.

Thanks to our generous supporters we are able to continue to provide specialist support and a safe haven for rescue ponies like Balmoral. We’re all so proud of you Bally, you’ve come on so far since arriving to us and we can’t wait to see what the next year holds for you.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of our supporters who donated to our Winter Welfare Crisis Appeal in 2022. Without these generous donations we could not spend the large amount of time and resources it takes to care for a rescue horse like Bally. Thank you for your continued support.

The Horse Trust relies on public donations to continue to give a forever home to retired military, police, Royal Mews and RDA horses and to care for neglected rescued horses. If you would like to be part of our story, please consider a donation today.


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