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With a namesake famous for his naval conquests as well as his missing eye, little one-eyed Nelson’s battle for survival was also aquatic. The neglected 12hh pony was found struggling to live in a grassless, waterlogged field but with the RSPCA and Blue Cross on his side Nelson won his fight for a better life. Through the charity’s innovative Home Direct Scheme he has been matched with his new owner, who is totally smitten with her new equine hero.
Nelson was a seven-year-old stallion when he, and two geldings, were found by the RSPCA in a flooded field with no grass. His right eye was missing, looking as if had been surgically removed a long time previously, probably because of an injury or infection. The trio had not been provided with any hay, hard feed or day-to-day care and were in a very thin and neglected state. The ponies were rehabilitated by the RSPCA and their previous owner was eventually prosecuted. Nelson was gelded and initially placed in a new home but he had retained some dominant, stallion-like tendencies. These proved too much for his new owner so Blue Cross was asked to step in to help through the Home Direct Scheme.
Emily Lambert, Blue Cross Home Direct Homing Assistant, explains: “Sometimes when stallions are gelded later in life they can still show some challenging stallion-like traits and need skilled and careful handling. Luckily for Nelson the owner we found for him, who is experienced with more difficult horses, was looking for a companion pony to live with her herd of two. Paddy a black and white cob, now 19 and arthritic who can no longer be ridden and his little companion, Mowgli, a Welsh section A.”
“Nelson is such a sweet and inquisitive pony”, said Janet West, from Suffolk. “He always comes to the fence to greet me. It took a few days for the 'pecking order' to be established, but now the boys are settling well. It just takes a little patience and ingenuity to keep them safe while they settle.”
The Blue Cross Home Direct Scheme enables the charity to rehome a privately owned horse into a Blue Cross home whilst it is still in the care of its current owner. Blue Cross still carries out all the usual assessments for both horse and potential new home, but doesn’t have to admit the horse to one of their centres, which keeps much-needed space free for the most needy welfare cases.
Most horses can be considered for Home Direct unless they are on long-term medication. Blue Cross initially assesses horses, before a full vet health check and home-finding begins. Appointments for potential new homes are conducted in the presence of a member of the Blue Cross horse team to make sure a suitable match is made. Blue Cross has recently joined forces with RSPCA to help rehome horses from RSPCA centres through the scheme.
Anna Hemmings, RSPCA Centre Manager said: “We were very pleased to have the help of Blue Cross to spread the word about Nelson's story to a wider audience in the hope of finding him the special home he needed. We look forward to continuing to work together with Blue Cross and their Home Direct Scheme to place even more rescued equines into loving new homes.”
To find out more about how you can give a Blue Cross horse or pony a home or make a donation to Blue Cross please visit www.bluecross.org.uk